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atrc, assistive, technology, resource, center, graduate, thesis, electromechanical, mechanical, muscular, dystrophy, orthosis, orthoses, motor, control, power, powered, upper


Wearable robotics for assistance and rehabilitation are not yet considered commercially mainstream products, and as a result have not yet seen advanced controls systems and interfaces. Consequently, the available technology is mostly adapted from systems used in parallel technologies, rather than custom applications intended for human use. This study concerns itself with the design and development of a custom control system for a 2-degree of freedom powered upper extremity orthosis capable of driving elbow flexion/extension 135º and humeral rotation 95º . The orthosis has been evaluated for use as both a long-term assistive technology device for persons with disabilities, and as a short-term rehabilitative tool for persons recovering injury. The target demographics for such a device vary in age, cognitive ability and physical function, thus requiring several input parameters requiring consideration. This study includes a full evaluation of the potential users of the device, as well as parameter considerations that are required during the design phase. The final control system is capable of driving each DOF independently or simultaneously, for a more realistic and natural coupled-motion, with proportional control by pulse-width modulation. The dual-axis joystick interface wirelessly transmits to the 1.21 pound control pack which houses a custom microcontroller-driven PCB and 1800 milliamp-hour lithium-ion rechargeable battery capable of delivering 4 hours of running time. Upon integration with the 2 DOF orthosis device, a user may complete full range of motion with up to 5 pounds in their hand in less than 7 seconds, providing full functionality to complete acts of daily living, thus improving quality of life.



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