Latest Papers

ASME Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics

  • Mechanical Characterization of Supernumerary Robotic Tails for Human Balance Augmentation
    on August 31, 2023 at 12:00 am

    AbstractHumans are intrinsically unstable in quiet stance from a rigid body system viewpoint; however, they maintain balance, thanks to neuro-muscular sensory control properties. With increasing levels of balance related incidents in industrial and ageing populations globally each year, the development of assistive mechanisms to augment human balance is paramount. This work investigates the mechanical characteristics of kinematically dissimilar one and two degrees-of-freedom (DoF) supernumerary robotic tails for balance augmentation. Through dynamic simulations and manipulability assessments, the importance of variable coupling inertia in creating a sufficient reaction torque is highlighted. It is shown that two-DoF tails with solely revolute joints are best suited to address the balance augmentation issue. Within the two-DoF options, the characteristics of open versus closed loop tails are investigated, with the ultimate design selection requiring trade-offs between environmental workspace, biomechanical factors, and manufacturing ease to be made.

A Low-Cost, Highly Customizable Solution for Position Estimation in Modular Robots


Accurate position sensing is important for state estimation and control in robotics. Reliable and accurate position sensors are usually expensive and difficult to customize. Incorporating them into systems that have very tight volume constraints such as modular robots are particularly difficult. PaintPots are low-cost, reliable, and highly customizable position sensors, but their performance is highly dependent on the manufacturing and calibration process. This paper presents a Kalman filter with a simplified observation model developed to deal with the nonlinearity issues that result in the use of low-cost microcontrollers. In addition, a complete solution for the use of PaintPots in a variety of sensing modalities including manufacturing, characterization, and estimation is presented for an example modular robot, SMORES-EP. This solution can be easily adapted to a wide range of applications.
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