MODELLING HUMAN DYNAMICS IN-SITU FOR REHABILITATION AND THERAPY ROBOTS

William Harwin and Steven Wall
Department of Cybernetics, University of Reading, England

Abstract

This paper outlines some rehabilitation applications of manipulators and identifies that new approaches demand that the robot make an intimate contact with the user. Design of new generations of manipulators with programmable compliance along with higher level controllers that can set the compliance appropriately for the task, are both feasible propositions. We must thus gain a greater insight into the way in which a person interacts with a machine, particularly given that the interaction may be non-passive. We are primarily interested in the change in wrist and arm dynamics as the person co-contracts his/her muscles. It is observed that this leads to a change in stiffness that can push an actuated interface into a limit cycle. We use both experimental results gathered from a PHANToM haptic interface and a mathematical model to observe this effect. Results are relevant to the fields of rehabilitation and therapy robots, haptic interfaces, and telerobotics.
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Last modified: Thu Jan 21 10:38:39 PST 1999