Research Papers

Smart Knee Brace Design With Parallel Coupled Compliant Plate Mechanism and Pennate Elastic Band Spring

[+] Author and Article Information
Seungkook Jun

Automation Robotics
and Mechatronics Laboratory,
Department of Mechanical
and Aerospace Engineering,
State University of New York at Buffalo,
Buffalo, NY 14260
e-mail: seungjun@buffalo.edu

Xiaobo Zhou

Automation Robotics
and Mechatronics Laboratory,
Department of Mechanical
and Aerospace Engineering,
State University of New York at Buffalo,
Buffalo, NY 14260
e-mail: xzhou9@buffalo.edu

Daniel K. Ramsey

Department of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences,
State University of New York at Buffalo,
Buffalo, NY 14260
e-mail: dkramsey@buffalo.edu

Venkat N. Krovi

Automation Robotics
and Mechatronics Laboratory,
Department of Mechanical
and Aerospace Engineering,
State University of New York at Buffalo,
Buffalo, NY 14260
e-mail: vkrovi@buffalo.edu

Manuscript received July 31, 2014; final manuscript received April 28, 2015; published online July 17, 2015. Assoc. Editor: Satyandra K. Gupta.

J. Mechanisms Robotics 7(4), 041024 (Nov 01, 2015) (12 pages) Paper No: JMR-14-1184; doi: 10.1115/1.4030653 History: Received July 31, 2014; Revised April 28, 2015; Online July 17, 2015

Recent research on exoskeletons and braces has examined the ways of improving flexibility, wearability or overall weight-reduction. Part of the challenge arises from the significant loading requirements, while the other part comes from the inflexibilities associated with traditional (rigid link-moving joint) system architectures. Compliant mechanisms offer a class of articulated multibody systems that allow creation of lightweight yet adjustable-stiffness solutions for exoskeletons and braces, which we study further. In particular, we will introduce the parallel coupled compliant plate (PCCP) mechanism and pennate elastic band (PEB) spring architecture as potential candidates for brace development. PCCP/PEB system provides adjustable passive flexibility and selective stiffness to the user with respect to posture of knee joint, without need for mediation by active devices and even active sensors. In addition to the passive mode of operation of the PCCP/PEB system, a semi-active design variant is also explored. In this semi-active design, structural stiffness reconfigurability is exploited to allow for changes of preload of the PEB spring to provide force and torque customization capability. The systematic study of both aspects (passive and semi-active) upon the performance of PCCP/PEB system is verified by a lightweight 3D printed physical brace prototype within a ground-truth (optical motion tracking and six degrees-of-freedom (6DOF) force transducer) measurement framework.

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Fig. 1

The six deg of knee motion freedom, direction of forces, and moment for human right knee

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Fig. 3

Prototype of PCCP/PEB spring [34]

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Fig. 4

Beam bending mode and fixed-guided bending mode of PCCP

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Fig. 5

Bending model of PCCP mechanism for knee exoskeleton

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Fig. 6

(a) PRB model of PCCP (beam bending mode) and (b) deflection of PCCP-ideal bending model versus PRB model

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Fig. 7

(a) Fixed-guided bending of PCCP and (b) PRB model of PCCP

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Fig. 8

Resultant force, P of PCCP (eight unit segments, fixed-guided bending mode, unit length 33 mm, total length 264 mm)

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Fig. 9

(a) Analogy between pennate muscle and PEB spring and (b) prototype of PEB spring with PCCP

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Fig. 10

(a) Schematic of PEB spring and test setup (PASCO, PS-2104 force transducer) and (b) resultant force of PEB with respect to joint angle of PRB model (n = 10, p = 14 mm, k = 0.3 N/mm, dimension from PEB spring prototype)

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Fig. 11

(a) PRB model of PCCP/PEB system and (b) resultant force of PEB spring and nonlinear spring model with respect to joint angle of PRB model (n = 10, p = 21 mm, k = 0.3 N/mm, and g = 40 mm)

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Fig. 12

Prototype of semi-active PCCP/PEB system (a) computer-aided design model and (b) 3D printed prototype

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Fig. 13

(a) PRB model of semi-active PCCP/PEB system and (b) spring force of semi-active PEB spring

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Fig. 14

Full scaled PCCP/PEB prototype test with saw-bone knee model

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Fig. 15

Free body diagram of human lower limb

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Fig. 16

Saw-bone model test (a) without brace and (b) with brace

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Fig. 17

Torque at knee joint (a) at beam bending and fixed-guided bending mode and (b) with/without knee brace

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Fig. 18

Fixed-guided bending mode test (a) setup—flexion (right)/extension (left) and (b) resultant—moment-assist at knee joint

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Fig. 19

Wearable prototype of (a) passive and (b) semi-active PCCP/PEB knee brace



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