Anatomically Correct Human Hand Model

James Tigue, PhD Candidate
Chris Anjewierden, BS Student

The goal of this research is to develop an all inclusive tendon and skeletal model for the human hand. This model has may applications in biomechanics and robotics that include tendon transfer surgery study and bioinspired robotic and exoskeleton hand design applications. Using bond graph modeling techniques, a dynamic model of the human index finger and a Graphical User Interface for simulation were developed. As a validation and study tool a robotic analog to the anatomically correct model has been designed. Using these tools, a further whole hand model and robotic hand will be created for the study of tendon routing, digit interconnections, and digit control.

Optimal Control of Actuator Arrays with Electric and Thermofluidic Inputs

Mohammadreza Mollaei, PhD Student

The objective of this research is to characterize the performance of an array of Shape Memory Alloy (SMA) actuators with multiple energy domain inputs. The SMA actuators will be embedded in a vascular network that can provide both electric and thermofluidic energy. The vascular system delivers and removes thermal energy from compact muscle like actuators, allowing them to be integrated into large DOF systems. This research is anticipated to advance the capabilities of a variety of robotic systems such as prosthetics, exoskeletons, haptic devices and biomimicing robots. Specifically, we propose two distinct objectives: 1) to characterize and optimize the performance of a single wet SMA actuator using electric and thermofluidic inputs, 2) to characterize and optimize the performance of these wet SMA actuators in bundles/arrays where different combinations of actuators in the array can be addressed with different inputs in order to maximize a combination of speed and energy consumption. We plan to accomplish this through several research tasks including thermomechanical and computational fluid dynamic modeling of wet SMA actuators, and analysis of intelligent algorithms for optimal multi-input control of actuator arrays. This research sponsored by an NSF Grant.