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Design of a Backdrivable Upper-Limb Exoskeleton for Use in Rehabilitation Therapy of Stroke Patients
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The topic of this thesis is the development of a highly backdrivable exoskeleton for use in rehabilitation therapy of stroke patients. A synthetic rope drive actuator, called a capstan drive, is developed and tested. An exoskeleton is developed using 7 capstan drives. Each capstan drive is tailored for its load conditions. A total of 8 Degrees of Freedom (DOF) are available, with 5 DOFs used to replicate four degrees of freedom of the shoulder joint: flexion & extension, abduction & adduction, medial & lateral rotation, and elevation & depression. The last three DOFs are elbow extension & flexion, pronation & supination of the forearm, and open the patient’s hand. FEA analysis is used to validate the mechanical structural integrity of the system and all components are machined and built. Results from initial testing show that the exoskeleton functions as expected and is ready for implementation of advanced controls algorithms. In conclusion, the backdrivable exoskeleton was a success, future designers may wish to include niceties such as an electromagnetic brakes on each drive unit.
Eib, Andrew (2018). Design of a Backdrivable Upper-Limb Exoskeleton for Use in Rehabilitation Therapy of Stroke Patients. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from