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Technical Briefs

A Locking Compliant Device Inspired by the Anatomy of the Spine

[+] Author and Article Information
Nicole I. Kern, Thomas J. Majewski

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Case Western Reserve University, 10900 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106

Ronald J. Triolo

Department of Orthopaedics, and Department of Biomedical Engineering, Case Western Reserve University, 10900 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106; Rehabilitation Research and Development Service, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 10900 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106

Rudi Kobetic

Rehabilitation Research and Development Service, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 10900 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106

Roger D. Quinn

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Case Western Reserve University, 10900 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106roger.quinn@case.edu

J. Mech. Des 131(1), 014501 (Dec 16, 2008) (3 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2991143 History: Received January 04, 2008; Revised May 27, 2008; Published December 16, 2008

A device reminiscent of the mammalian spine has been designed and built with the ability to lock each individual joint in a string of ball joints. The assembly may be controlled in a manner similar to other hyper-redundant robots, with the added advantage of locking in a straight or axial position. Locking is achieved by orienting two mating collars in a singular configuration that forces compression against neighboring collars and prohibits bending or rotation. Locking is desirable for added strength in supporting objects, as well as for stabilization and power efficiency when bending is not necessary. The split locking mechanism represents a biologically inspired structure with added strength and stability for use in robotics.

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Copyright © 2009 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Spinal axes of bending and rotation (left) and range of movement in flexion and extension (right)

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Figure 2

Whegs™ II vehicle using body flexion to climb (2)

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Figure 3

Graph of mean cadence difference between gait with restricted versus unrestricted torso (4)

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Figure 4

Split locking collar designs: bottom (left) and top (right)

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Figure 5

Collars locked to prevent motion (left) and free bending (right)

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Figure 6

Full 2D range of motion with seven collar sets

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Figure 7

Each collar set provides approximately 20 deg of bending

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Figure 8

Split locking construction supporting 2.5 kg

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Figure 9

Ball joint failure by material yield

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