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A Bowden Cable-Based Series Elastic Actuation Module for Assessing the Human Wrist

[+] Author Affiliations
Andrew Erwin, Nick Moser, Craig G. McDonald, Marcia K. O’Malley

Rice University, Houston, TX

Paper No. DSCC2018-8963, pp. V001T07A001; 8 pages
  • ASME 2018 Dynamic Systems and Control Conference
  • Volume 1: Advances in Control Design Methods; Advances in Nonlinear Control; Advances in Robotics; Assistive and Rehabilitation Robotics; Automotive Dynamics and Emerging Powertrain Technologies; Automotive Systems; Bio Engineering Applications; Bio-Mechatronics and Physical Human Robot Interaction; Biomedical and Neural Systems; Biomedical and Neural Systems Modeling, Diagnostics, and Healthcare
  • Atlanta, Georgia, USA, September 30–October 3, 2018
  • Conference Sponsors: Dynamic Systems and Control Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5189-0
  • Copyright © 2018 by ASME


Currently, wrist passive stiffness and active range of motion, two clinically relevant properties, are assessed using devices designed for rehabilitation. As a result, these devices do not have sufficient torque output and range of motion for complete wrist biomechanical assessment. To address these limitations, we are developing an actuation module specifically for assessing wrist biomechanical properties. Our device employs a serial kinematic exoskeletal architecture to directly interact with and measure wrist flexion/extension and radial/ulnar deviation. A Bowden cable-based actuation scheme, locating the motors off-board, was adopted for increased device range of motion and torque output compared with previous wrist exoskeletons. Additionally, the device was designed to incorporate a rotational elastic element at each joint, creating series elastic actuators, for accurate torque control and direct torque measurement. In this work, we present the design and demonstration of a 1-DOF module of the device, which can interact with a user’s wrist in flexion/extension, providing an important first step towards the control, evaluation, and application of the 2-DOF device.

Copyright © 2018 by ASME
Topics: Cables



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