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Wearable devices are fast evolving to address mobility and autonomy needs of elderly people who would benefit from physical assistance. Recent developments in soft robotics provide important opportunities to develop soft exoskeletons (also called exosuits) to enable both physical assistance and improved usability and acceptance for users. The XoSoft EU project has developed a modular soft lower limb exoskeleton to assist people with low mobility impairments. In this paper, we present the design of a soft modular lower limb exoskeleton to improve person’s mobility, contributing to independence and enhancing quality of life. The novelty of this work is the integration of quasi-passive elements in a soft exoskeleton. The exoskeleton provides mechanical assistance for subjects with low mobility impairments reducing energy requirements between 10% and 20%. Investigation of different control strategies based on gait segmentation and actuation elements is presented. A first hip–knee unilateral prototype is described, developed, and its performance assessed on a post-stroke patient for straight walking. The study presents an analysis of the human–exoskeleton energy patterns by way of the task-based biological power generation. The resultant assistance, in terms of power, was 10.9% ± 2.2% for hip actuation and 9.3% ± 3.5% for knee actuation. The control strategy improved the gait and postural patterns by increasing joint angles and foot clearance at specific phases of the walking cycle.
The Tangent Bundle Rapidly Exploring Random Tree (TB-RRT) is an algorithm for planning robot motions on curved configuration space manifolds, in which the key idea is to construct random trees not on the manifold itself, but on tangent bundle approximations to the manifold. Curvature-based methods are developed for constructing tangent bundle approximations, and procedures for random node generation and bidirectional tree extension are developed that significantly reduce the number of projections to the manifold. Extensive numerical experiments for a wide range of planning problems demonstrate the computational advantages of the TB-RRT algorithm over existing constrained path planning algorithms.
A CCC limb and a new 3CCC parallel mechanism have been designed in this paper based on geometry analysis. Their mobility and geometrical constraints are discussed by using screw theory and geometrical equations separately. Following that both the inverse and forward kinematics of the 3CCC parallel mechanism are proposed, in which Dixon's resultant is used to get the forward solutions for the orientation and a eighth-order polynomial equation in one unknown is obtained, leading to the results for the position analysis, numerical examples confirm these theoretical results. A short comparison with the traditional Stewart platforms is presented in terms of kinematics, workspace and trajectory planning.
This paper describes a novel approach to capsular endoscopy that takes advantage of active magnetic locomotion in the gastrointestinal tract guided by an anthropomorphic robotic arm. Simulations were performed to select the design parameters allowing an effective and reliable magnetic link between the robot end-effector (endowed with a permanent magnet) and the capsular device (endowed with small permanent magnets). In order to actively monitor the robotic endoluminal system and to efficiently perform diagnostic and surgical medical procedures, a feedback control based on inertial sensing was also implemented. The proposed platform demonstrated to be a reliable solution to move and steer a capsular device in a slightly insufflated gastrointestinal lumen.
A brief history of robotic surgery is provided, which describes the transition from autonomous robots to hands-on systems that are under the direct control of the surgeon. An example of the latter is the Acrobot (for active-constraint robot) system used in orthopaedics, whilst soft-tissue surgery is illustrated by the daVinci telemanipulator system. Non-technological aspects of robotic surgery have often been a major impediment to their widespread clinical use. These are discussed in detail, together with the role of navigation systems, which are considered a major competitor to surgical robots. A detailed description is then given of a registration method for robots to achieve improved accuracy. Registration is a major source of error in robotic surgery, particularly in orthopaedics. The paper describes the design and clinical implementation of a novel method, coined the bounded registration method, applied to minimally invasive registration of the femur. Results of simulations which compare the performance of bounded registration with a standard implementation of the iterative closest point algorithm are also presented, alongside a description of their application in the Acrobot hands-on robot, used clinically for uni-condylar knee arthroplasty.
A nonholonomic system subjected to external noise from the environment, or internal noise in its own actuators, will evolve in a stochastic manner described by an ensemble of trajectories. This ensemble of trajectories is equivalent to the solution of a Fokker–Planck equation that typically evolves on a Lie group. If the most likely state of such a system is to be estimated, and plans for subsequent motions from the current state are to be made so as to move the system to a desired state with high probability, then modeling how the probability density of the system evolves is critical. Methods for solving Fokker-Planck equations that evolve on Lie groups then become important. Such equations can be solved using the operational properties of group Fourier transforms in which irreducible unitary representation (IUR) matrices play a critical role. Therefore, we develop a simple approach for the numerical approximation of all the IUR matrices for two of the groups of most interest in robotics: the rotation group in three-dimensional space, SO(3), and the Euclidean motion group of the plane, SE(2). This approach uses the exponential mapping from the Lie algebras of these groups, and takes advantage of the sparse nature of the Lie algebra representation matrices. Other techniques for density estimation on groups are also explored. The computed densities are applied in the context of probabilistic path planning for kinematic cart in the plane and flexible needle steering in three-dimensional space. In these examples the injection of artificial noise into the computational models (rather than noise in the actual physical systems) serves as a tool to search the configuration spaces and plan paths. Finally, we illustrate how density estimation problems arise in the characterization of physical noise in orientational sensors such as gyroscopes.
Wheeled Mobile Manipulators (WMM) possess many advantages over fixed-base counterparts in terms of improved workspace, mobility and robustness. However, the combination of the nonholonomic constraints with the inherent redundancy limits effective exploitation of end-effector payload manipulation capabilities. The dynamic-level redundancy-resolution scheme presented in this paper decomposes the system dynamics into decoupled task-space (end-effector motions/forces) and a dynamically consistent null-space (internal motions/forces) component. This simplifies the subsequent development of a prioritized task-space control (of end-effector interactions) and a decoupled but secondary null-space control (of internal motions) in a hierarchical WMM controller. Various aspects of the ensuing novel capabilities are illustrated using a series of simulation results.
Although parallel-jaw grippers play a vital role in automated manufacturing, gripper surfaces are still designed by trial-and-error. This paper presents an algorithmic approach to designing gripper jaws that mechanically align parts in the vertical (gravitational) plane. We consider optimal edge contacts, based on modular trapezoidal segments that maximize contact between the gripper and the part at its desired final orientation. Given the n-sided 2D projection of an extruded convex polygonal part, mechanical properties such as friction and center of mass, and initial and desired final orientations, we present an O(n3 log n) numerical algorithm to design optimal gripper jaws. We also present an O(n log n) algorithm to compute tolerance classes for these jaws, and report on an online implemented version of the algorithm and physical experiments with the jaws it designed. This paper extends earlier results that generated optimal point contacts [M. T. Zhang and K. Goldberg, “Gripper point contacts for part alignment,” IEEE Trans. Robot. Autom.18(6), 902–910 (2002)].
For conventional designs of robots, manipulator motions result in forces and moments on the base. These forces and moments may cause undesirable translation and rotation of the base. The objective of this paper is to systematically analyze the fundamentals of reactionless robots. Based on this analysis, a design of one distinct class of spatial robot is proposed. The design is achieved through appropriate choices of geometric and inertial parameters. Due to the underlying conservation laws, the trajectory must satisfy additional constraints. We illustrate the reactionless feature of this robot through computer simulations. We are also fabricating reactionless robots to illustrate the underlying concepts.
In this paper, a new method – named lumped kinetostatic modeling – to analyze the effect of the link flexibility on the mechanism's stiffness
is provided. A new type of mechanism whose degree of freedom (dof) is dependent on a passive constraining leg connecting the base and the platform is introduced and analyzed. With the proposed kinetostatic model, a significant effect of the link flexibility on the mechanism's precision has been demonstrated. The influence of the change in structure parameters, including material properties, on the system behavior is discussed. In the paper, the geometric model of this kind of mechanism is first introduced. Then, a lumped kinetostatic model is proposed in order to account for joint and link compliances; some results and design guidelines are obtained. Finally, the optimization of the precision is addressed using a genetic algorithm.
CaPaMan (Cassino Parallel Manipulator) is a 3-Degree Of Freedom spatial parallel manipulator that has been designed at the Laboratory of Robotics and Mechatronics, in Cassino. In this paper we present a formulation for an optimum design for CaPaMan architecture when the orientation workspace is suitably specified.
The gait of a multi-segment inchworm robot is a series of actuator actions that will change the shape of the robot to generate a net motion. In this paper,
we model the multi-segment inchworm robot as a finite state automaton. Gait generation is posed as a search problem on the graph described by the automaton with prescribed state transitions. The state transitions are defined based on the kinematics of robot locomotion. The auxiliary actuator concept is introduced. Single-stride and multi-stride gait generations are discussed. Single-stride gaits exhibit fault-tolerant and real-time computation features that are necessary in actual applications. Both computer simulation and experimental hardware platform are developed for various aspects of gait generation and planning.
This paper is aimed at presenting a study on the kinematics of the Tricept robot,
which comprises a three-degree-of-freedom (dof) parallel structure having a radial link of variable length. The robot workspace is characterized and the inverse kinematics equation is obtained by using spherical coordinates. The inverse differential kinematics and statics are derived in terms of both an analytical and a geometric Jacobian, and a manipulability analysis along the various workspace directions is developed using the concept of force and velocity ellipsoids. A Jacobian-based Closed-Loop Direct Kinematics (CLDK) algorithm is presented to solve the direct kinematics problem along a given trajectory. Simulation results are illustrated for an industrial robot of the Tricept family.
In this paper we present a technique for designing planar parallel
manipulators with platforms capable of reaching any number of desired poses. The
manipulator consists of a platform connected to ground by RPR chains. The set of
positions and orientations available to the end-effector of a general RPR chain
is mapped into the space of planar quaternions to obtain a quadratic manifold.
The coefficients of this constraint manifold are functions of the
locations of the base and platform R joints and the distance between
them. Evaluating the constraint manifold at each desired pose and defining the
limits on the extension of the P joint yields a set of equations.
Solutions of these equations determine chains that contain the desired poses as
part of their workspaces. Parallel manipulators that can reach the prescribed
workspace are assembled from these chains. An example shows the determination of
three RPR chains that form a manipulator able to reach a prescribed
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