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 Control of SLPM-Based Extensible Continuum Arm


As an important branch of reconfigurable robots, extensible continuum robots are soft and light, with the flexibility of movement and high adaptability in complex environments. These robots have very broad applications in a variety of fields, including military reconnaissance, geological exploration and rescue operations. In this paper, a high folding ratio, flexible, and compact extensible continuum arm is designed using a novel combination of parallel and deployable mechanisms. We present the spherical-linkage parallel mechanism (SLPM) as a flexure hinge. The analysis suggests that the SLPM is highly flexible and meets the requirements for many DoFs (degrees-of-freedom) needed in various fields. The folding ratio of the SLPM was 72.73. Following this, we present an SLPM compliant module powered by a set of embedded shape memory alloy (SMA) springs. These can change the internal elasticity of the module as temperature changes, thereby varying the stiffness. Moreover, the control system is designed to enable real-time cooperation between multiple motors and carries out simulations for deployable motion. The extensible continuum arm prototype was manufactured and its performance was tested in complex environments. From the results, it is shown that the arm can be utilized for rescue during disasters as well as investigation and repair of aircraft engines.

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