A double-layered elbow exoskeleton interface with 3-PRR planar parallel mechanism for axis self-alignment

Awad, Mohammad I., Hussain, Irfan, Ghosh, Shramana, Zweiri, Yahya and Gan, Dongming (2021) A double-layered elbow exoskeleton interface with 3-PRR planar parallel mechanism for axis self-alignment. Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics, 13(1), 011016. ISSN (print) 1942-4302


Abstract Designing a mechanism for elbow self-axis alignment requires the elimination of undesirable joint motion and tissue elasticity. The novelty of this work lies in proposing a double-layered interface using a 3-PRR planar parallel mechanism as a solution to the axis alignment problem. 3-PRR planar parallel mechanisms are suitable candidates to solve this as they can span the desired workspace in a relatively compact size. In this paper, we present the modeling, design, prototyping, and validation of the double-layered elbow exoskeleton interface for axis self-alignment. The desired workspace for the self-axis alignment mechanism is specified based on the estimated maximum possible misalignment between the exoskeleton joint and the human anatomical elbow joint. Kinematic parameters of the 3-PRR planar mechanism are identified by formulating an optimization problem. The goal is to find the smallest mechanism that can span the specified workspace. The orientation angle of the mechanism’s plane addresses the frontal frustum vertex angle of the elbow’s joint, while the translational motion allows the translational offsets between the user’s elbow and the exoskeleton joint. The designed exoskeleton axis can passively rotate around the frontal plane ±15 deg and translate along the workspace 30 mm in the frontal plane. Experimental results (quantitative and qualitative) confirmed the capability of the proposed exoskeleton in addressing the complex elbow motion, user’s satisfaction, and ergonomics.

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