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.

Design and Compliant Control of a Piggyback Transfer Robot


Patient transfer, such as lifting and moving a bedridden patient from a bed to a wheelchair or a pedestal pan, is one of the most physically challenging tasks in nursing care. Although many transfer devices have been developed, they are rarely used because of the large time consumption in performing transfer tasks and the lack of safety and comfortableness. We developed a piggyback transfer robot that can conduct patient transfer by imitating the motion when a person holds another person on his/her back. The robot consisted of a chest holder that moves like a human back. In this paper, we present an active stiffness control approach for the motion control of the chest holder, combined with a passive cushion, for lifting a care-receiver comfortably. A human-robot dynamic model was built and a subjective evaluation was conducted to optimize the parameters of both the active stiffness control and the passive cushion of the chest holder. The test results of 10 subjects demonstrated that the robot could transfer a subject safely, and the combination of active stiffness and passive stiffness were essential to a comfortable transfer. The objective evaluation demonstrated that an active stiffness of k = 4 kPa/mm along with a passive stiffness lower than the stiffness of human chest was helpful for a comfort feeling.

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