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An Integrated Type and Dimensional Synthesis Method to Design One Degree-of-Freedom Planar Linkages with Only Revolute Joints for Exoskeletons

[+] Author and Article Information
Zefang Shen

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Curtin University, Perth, WA 6102
zefang.shen@postgrad.curtin.edu.au

Garry Allison

Curtin Graduate Research School, Curtin University, Perth, WA 6102
g.allison@curtin.edu.au

Lei Cui

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Curtin University, Perth, WA 6102
lei.cui@curtin.edu.au

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4040486 History: Received January 05, 2018; Revised May 24, 2018

Abstract

Exoskeletons can assist wearers to reproduce natural movements when attached to the human body. However most current such devices are bulky and heavy, which limits their application. Compact and lightweight devices are needed to boost the availability of therapy services for at-home application. In this paper, we integrated type synthesis and dimensional synthesis to design 1-DOF linkages consisting of only revolute joints with multiple output joints for compact exoskeletons. Type synthesis starts from a 4-bar linkage where the output link generates the first angular output. Then an RRR dyad is connected to the four-bar linkage for the second angular output while ensuring the overall DOF of the new mechanism is 1. A third output joint is added in a similar manner. During each step, dimensional synthesis is formulated as a constrained optimization problem and solved via genetic algorithms. In the first case study, we designed a leg exoskeleton based on an 8-bar-10-joint linkage to reproduce a natural walking gait at hip and knee joints. The second case study presents a finger exoskeleton based on a 10-bar-13-joint linkage for a natural curling motion. We manufactured the exoskeletons to validate the proposed approach.

Copyright (c) 2018 by ASME
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