Fingertip Manipulator for Automated Calibration

Tom Grieve, Ph.D. candidate

To improve our calibration procedure, we use an automated procedure developed on a magnetic levitation haptic device (MLHD) capable of producing force in three directions and torque in three directions simultaneously. A six-axis force sensor is mounted on the end effector to provide feedback and control the force applied to the fingertip during the calibration. The fingertip rests against the force sensor, while the first and second links of the finger are held in place by a small finger brace. A force controller determines the input signals to each of the six Lorentz coils of the MLHD. With this design, the test subject can hold the finger still while the machine provides the desired force, allowing for more methodical collection of calibration data.


Force Feedback for Assisted Driving of Omnidirectional Wheelchairs.

Quinton Christensen, M.S., Joseph Seegmiller, M.S. candidate.

The objective of this research is to quantifiably improve the ability of a human operator to drive an omnidirectional wheelchair using haptic feedback. Omnidirectional powered wheelchairs have the potential to significantly improve the ability of disabled persons to navigate in confined areas, but require more coordination in order to control the extra navigational degrees of freedom. We hypothesize that force feedback provided to the driver through an omnidirectional joystick can assist the driver to navigate the wheelchair in a natural and coordinated manner, while minimizing any sensations of discomfort and disorientation. Specifically, three objectives are proposed: 1) to experimentally characterize the comfort and spatial orientation of omnidirectional wheelchair motion using physical, physiological, and psychological metrics, 2) to optimize omnidirectional wheelchair paths in order to minimize discomfort and disorientation, as well as perform obstacle avoidance, and 3) to experimentally evaluate the use of force feedback to provide navigational assistance to improve the driving performance of human operators while minimizing discomfort and disorientation.


Anatomically Correct Hand Exoskeletons

Raymond King, Ph.D. candidate

The goal of this research is to characterize the ability to use bioinspired kinematic design and modeling to improve the wearability of hand exoskeletons. This research will expand our understanding of the kinematics of the human hand and provide the foundational knowledge for building a hand exoskeleton that mimics the underlying tendons with an external tendon system embedded in a glove. Specifically this proposal will: 1) expand the research in hand/finger kinematics to create an interactive anatomically correct kinematic hand model, 2) embed this kinematic hand model in software so that others can explore and understand hand kinematics and 3) provide design advice for the development of an Anatomically Correct Exoskeleton (ACE) hand, along with criteria for evaluating an ACE hand using a proposed metric as well as motion analysis