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J Neuroeng Rehabil. 2011 Jan 20;8:3. doi: 10.1186/1743-0003-8-3.

Design of a series visco-elastic actuator for multi-purpose rehabilitation haptic device.

Author information

1
University Rehabilitation Institute, Republic of Slovenia, Linhartova 51, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia. jakob.oblak@ir-rs.si

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Variable structure parallel mechanisms, actuated with low-cost motors with serially added elasticity (series elastic actuator--SEA), has considerable potential in rehabilitation robotics. However, reflected masses of a SEA and variable structure parallel mechanism linked with a compliant actuator result in a potentially unstable coupled mechanical oscillator, which has not been addressed in previous studies.

METHODS:

The aim of this paper was to investigate through simulation, experimentation and theoretical analysis the necessary conditions that guarantee stability and passivity of a haptic device (based on a variable structure parallel mechanism driven by SEA actuators) when in contact with a human. We have analyzed an equivalent mechanical system where a dissipative element, a mechanical damper was placed in parallel to a spring in SEA.

RESULTS:

The theoretical analysis yielded necessary conditions relating the damping coefficient, spring stiffness, both reflected masses, controller's gain and desired virtual impedance that needs to be fulfilled in order to obtain stable and passive behavior of the device when in contact with a human. The validity of the derived passivity conditions were confirmed in simulations and experimentally.

CONCLUSIONS:

These results show that by properly designing variable structure parallel mechanisms actuated with SEA, versatile and affordable rehabilitation robotic devices can be conceived, which may facilitate their wide spread use in clinical and home environments.

PMID:
21251299
PMCID:
PMC3063208
DOI:
10.1186/1743-0003-8-3
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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