Publications by Year: 2013

Y. Menguc, et al., “Soft Wearable Motion Sensing Suit for Lower Limb Biomechanics Measurements,” International Workshop on Soft Robotics and Morphological Computation. 2013.Abstract

Motion sensing has played an important role in
the study of human biomechanics as well as the entertainment
industry. Although existing technologies, such as optical or
inertial based motion capture systems, have relatively high
accuracy in detecting body motions, they still have inherent
limitations with regards to mobility and wearability. In this
paper, we present a soft motion sensing suit for measuring lower
extremity joint motion. The sensing suit prototype includes a
pair of elastic tights and three hyperelastic strain sensors. The
strain sensors are made of silicone elastomer with embedded
microchannels filled with conductive liquid. To form a sensing
suit, these sensors are attached at the hip, knee, and ankle areas
to measure the joint angles in the sagittal plane. The prototype
motion sensing suit has significant potential as an autonomous
system that can be worn by individuals during many activities
outside the laboratory, from running to rock climbing. In this
study we characterize the hyperelastic sensors in isolation to
determine their mechanical and electrical responses to strain,
and then demonstrate the sensing capability of the integrated
suit in comparison with a ground truth optical motion capture
system. Using simple calibration techniques, we can accurately
track joint angles and gait phase. Our efforts result in a
calculated trade off: with a maximum error less than 8%, the
sensing suit does not track joints as accurately as optical motion
capture, but its wearability means that it is not constrained to
use only in a lab.

D. Holland, C. J. Walsh, and G. J. Bennett, “Tools for assessing student learning in mechanical design courses,” 9th International CDIO Conference. 2013. PDF
P. Polygerinos, et al., “Towards a Soft Pneumatic Glove for Hand Rehabilitation,” in 2013 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), Tokyo, Japan, 2013. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This paper presents preliminary results for the design, development and evaluation of a hand rehabilitation glove fabricated using soft robotic technology. Soft actuators comprised of elastomeric materials with integrated channels that function as pneumatic networks (PneuNets), are designed and geometrically analyzed to produce bending motions that can safely conform with the human finger motion. Bending curvature and force response of these actuators are investigated using geometrical analysis and a finite element model (FEM) prior to fabrication. The fabrication procedure of the chosen actuator is described followed by a series of experiments that mechanically characterize the actuators. The experimental data is compared to results obtained from FEM simulations showing good agreement. Finally, an open-palm glove design and the integration of the actuators to it are described, followed by a qualitative evaluation study.

P. Polygerinos, D. Holland, G. J. Bennett, and C. J. Walsh, “Towards Educational Kits for Soft Robotics applied to Medical Device Design,” 2013 International Workshop on Soft Robotics and Morphological Computation. 2013. PDF
N. C. Hanumara, et al., “Classroom to Clinic: Merging Education and Research to Efficiently Prototype Medical Devices,” IEEE Journal of Translational Engineering in Health and Medicine, vol. 1, pp. 4700107, 2013. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Innovation in patient care requires both clinical and technical skills, and this paper presents the methods and outcomes of a nine-year, clinical-academic collaboration to develop and evaluate new medical device technologies, while teaching mechanical engineering. Together, over the course of a single semester, seniors, graduate students, and clinicians conceive, design, build, and test proof-of-concept prototypes. Projects initiated in the course have generated intellectual property and peer-reviewed publications, stimulated further research, furthered student and clinician careers, and resulted in technology licenses and start-up ventures.