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.

Quadrupedal Human-Assistive Robotic Platform (Q-HARP): Design, Control, and Preliminary Testing


With the rapid expansion of older adult populations around the world, mobility impairment is becoming an increasingly challenging issue. For the assistance of individuals with mobility impairments, there are two major types of tools in the current practice, including the passive (unpowered) walking aids (canes, walkers, rollators, etc.) and wheelchairs (powered and unpowered). Despite their extensive use, there are significant weaknesses that affect their effectiveness in daily use, especially when challenging uneven terrains are encountered. To address these issues, the authors developed a novel robotic platform intended for the assistance of mobility-challenged individuals. Unlike the existing assistive robots serving similar purposes, the proposed robot, namely, quadrupedal human-assistive robotic platform (Q-HARP), utilizes legged locomotion to provide an unprecedented potential to adapt to a wide variety of challenging terrains, many of which are common in people’s daily life (e.g., roadside curbs and the few steps leading to a front door). In this paper, the design of the robot is presented, including the overall structure of the robot and the design details of the actuated robotic leg joints. For the motion control of the robot, a joint trajectory generator is formulated, with the purpose of generating a stable walking gait to provide reliable support to its human user in the robot’s future application. The Q-HARP robot and its control system were experimentally tested, and the results demonstrated that the robot was able to provide a smooth gait during walking.

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