Wearable Robotics Put Spring in Your Step

Wearable electronics or “wearables” are seen as the next great wave of technology and commerce. Much of the popular talk about these kinds of products revolves around things like fitness trackers, augmented reality devices, and other machines you can wear that interact with, track, or add on to your experience with the world around you. Thomas Sugar, a professor at Arizona State University Polytechnic Campus and a wearable robotics expert works on a different kind of wearable.

Along with his colleagues and students, he has developed a new generation of powered prosthetic devices that can be used for rehabilitation and as prosthetics for amputees. He works on spring-based robots that enhance human mobility based on lightweight energy storing springs that allow for a more responsive and therefore more functional human gait. His devices make position control calculations 1,000 times per second to make the prosthetics as human as possible.

springactive-odyssey
Sugar starts from a “human being first” research perspective since his devices must be wearable and efficient. In his devices, spring power and motor power combine to create a powered system that gives prosthetic ankles the “push off” and “toe pick up” they need in order to mimic the function of human ankles.

His idea of a robotic tendon is much more efficient than a direct drive system, which would require more electricity and larger, more powerful motors.   In fact, his innovation uses half the required energy of a direct drive system powered prosthetic ankle.

springactive-spark
In a different device attached to the ankle Sugar uses able-bodied movement to harvest energy from walking. His company SpringActive developed a boot attachment with the military in mind that turns walking into back up power for batteries with negligible metabolic cost.

The real world and commercial applications for this kind of research are far reaching.   For more on Thomas Sugar’s and his colleagues’ work, visit SpringActive.com and http://innovation.asu.edu/

Waldron Celebration

Waldron Fest: May 16-17, 2013

Waldron Inspires

Waldron Inspires

This poster was prepared as a gift to Ken Waldron on his 70th birthday and given to him at a conference organized in his honor. Anuj Taneja generated the SolidWorks model in 2006 from the original drawings of the Adaptive Suspension Vehicle. I recently found the electronic files and Kaustubh Sonawale generated the four-view drawing. The ASV is an important feat of engineering and the stories shared by those who worked on it were wonderful.

Ganson Sculpture

Kinetic Sculptures by Arthur Ganson

This is a video montage of kinetic sculptures by Arthur Ganson that were on display at MIT. You can see more at his website at the link: arthurganson.com

 

Monitor Deployment

Brendan Smith’s Monitor Linkage

Brendan Smith designed this six-bar linkage to guide a big-screen TV from a horizontal position hidden in the ceiling into a vertical position for convenient viewing.

 

OSU Mechanism

Shape-morphing linkages

This is an example of a shape-morphing linkage resulting from the research collaboration James Schmiedeler and Andrew Murray. This is an old design dating to when James was a Professor at Ohio State University. He is now at Notre Dame. Andrew Murray is a Professor at the University of Dayton.

 

Design Thinking

The d.School and Design Thinking

In this Freudenstein Memorial Lecture, Bernard Roth presents an overview of the work at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford, known as the d.School. Pierre Larochelle, one of my former students, has a cameo at the beginning.

MillenWorks Light Utility Vehicle

MillenWorks to show LUV at 2011 Energy Invitational

MillenWorks Light Utility Vehicle

MillenWorks Light Utility Vehicle

MillenWorks will show their LUV (Light Utility Vehicle) at the the 2011 Energy Invitational at Willow Springs Motorsports Park on March 30, 2011. It has a unique all wheel drive parallel hybrid powertrain for reduced fuel consumption and silent watch capability with extensive on-board power.

Toyota 2010 Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle

Toyota to show two vehicles at 2011 Energy Invitational

Toyota 2010 Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle

Toyota 2010 Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle

Toyota will demonstrate their Advanced Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle at the Energy Invitational at Willow Springs on March 30, 2011.

They will also demonstrate their Prius Plug-in Hybrid.

Prius Plug-in Hybrid

Prius Plug-in Hybrid

Horse Scupture

Kinetic Sculpture: Bucephale

This video shows a kinetic sculpture of a horse by the artist Francois Hameury.
His website is http://hameury.sculptures.pagesperso-orange.fr/index.htm

 

Peugeot 407 convertible

Peugeot 407 Convertible Hard Top

 

This is a video on Yahoo! that shows the movement of the Convertible Hard Top of the Peugeot 407. The two side rails fold out from the back, and provide guides for the glass panels that move out to become the top.