This is my project for the CIT Honors Research Program. From my work on this project, I was awarded the "Excellence in Undergraduate Research" Award at Commencement.
I was part of the CMU Robomechanics Lab ( https://www.cmu.edu/me/robomechanicslab/ ) during the 2017-2018 Academic Year. I worked with my professor, Aaron Johnson, and lab-mate, Praxis Bayes.
We were inspired by mountain goats and their great maneuverability on mountainous terrain. We focused on studying the mechanics of their lower limb, specifically of their hooves. We worked on designing mechanical hooves that conform to steep and uneven surfaces, and experimented with material, geometry, and fabrication methods
The Big Question:
How can we improve the mobility of legged robots on steep and rocky surfaces?
To understand the principles underlying improved mobility on steep and rocky terrain.
Focus: Mechanics of the Feet.
The "Minitaur," a 4-legged robot developed by Ghost Robotics was used as a testing platform.
Research: Anatomy of Goat Hooves
The Hoof body was printed using the Form 2 3D Printer, and the sole was cast.
Fabricated from bending spring steel rods.
This new design replaces the Minitaur's original Rubber Stub Feet.
We can see here that the ankle and hoof allows the feet to conform to irregularities in the surface by improving surface compliance and grip.
This project was for 24-671: Electromechanical Systems Design with Professor Mark Bedillion
For our Senior Design Capstone Project, we set out to design a device that will enhance the quality of life of Parkinson's Disease (PD) Patients, specifically by addressing micrographia (difficulty of writing due to hand tremors). In the ideation stage, we converged on the idea of a pen grip that will be able to sense and counteract tremors. Within our team of 5, we split into subgroups to work on enclosure design and controls.
We designed and fabricated a series of prototypes:
My main focus for this project was working on the control system. The goals for designing the controller were stability and minimal error. We decided to implement the Repetitive Controller based on the Internal Model Principle. Matlab was used for the controller design: Simulink and Root Locus Plots. The FFT Plot illustrates that the controller is able to send out signals to cancel out tremors at peak frequency.
Unfortunately, the device did not work as we had planned. The issue was our incorrect assumption of the system dynamics. We presumed that the rotation in the wrist and hand can be mostly dampened by a single rotating motor. This idea was proven to be achievable in a computer simulation, as presented by the results of the Simulink Model. However, we ran into problems during system integration, where we were getting unwanted vibrations in other degrees of freedom. Although the motor behaved as wanted (as commanded by the IMP Controller), and moved in the general direction in an attempt to counteract the tremors, it unfortunately introduced torques in other axes.
However, along the way, we learned about many things! :
At the end of the semester, we presented our project at the Senior Capstone Design Expo.
View photos of the Expo here :
Lastly, we would like to thank the course staff for their tremendous help and support!