Currently, the prosthetics research is very fragmented due to a lack of common hardware and software. Researchers around the world spend long hours and thousands of dollars to build their own prosthesis. When this is the case, researchers have hard time comparing their results and collaborating with one another, causing the prosthetics research to improve very slowly.
The overarching goal of the open-source robotic ankle and knee system is to create a common robotic ankle and knee system for researchers so that they can collaborate with one another and advance the prosthetics research rapidly.
What I did:
Designed and built the “How to Assemble” page of the first open source leg (opensourceleg.engin.umich.edu) by creating detailed assembly instructions including custom made videos using iMovie.
Working on design recommendations to reduce the number of parts and increase assembly efficiency.
A ballbot is a mobile robot that can move omnidirectionally and thus very agile compared to other vehicles. Its dynamic motion helps it to move easily in crowded and narrow environments. For example, it can help carry instruments for the elderly at hospitals or homes.
“For the ME450 Capstone Project, students solve an open-ended mechanical engineering design problem including the broader considerations of performance, cost, safety, and societal impact.The problem must provide opportunities for creative mechanical design, fundamental analysis, and proof-of-concept prototyping.”
For more information about ME450 – Capstone Project visit here
What I have been doing:
While all other students were allowed to choose either a project or a team, I was able to choose my team AND my project through my good relationship with professors and friends.
I was part of the hardware team responsible for designing and manufacturing the hardware components of the system.
In this class, my team and I built and electromechanical four-bar linkage system from scratch that can pick up balls, sort them into colors and places them into baskets that correspond to certain colors.
Review of the design process and relevant design principles
Application of basic materials and mechanics to mechanical design
Analysis and synthesis with focus on selection methods for basic offtheshelf mechanical components which may incude gears, bearings, springs, power screws, and fasteners
Basic kinematic and kinetostatic analysis/synthesis of mechanisms such as four bar linkages
Selection and application of motors based upon predictive models and motor curves
Design of mechatronic systems for given motion/power requirements
Analysis of load and power flow through transmission systems including those with linkages
Preparation of engineering drawings and manufacturing plans, selecting the appropriate materials and manufacturing processes based upon geometry, loading and tolerances
Design, build and assemble mechanical systems using standard machine shop tools (manual mill, lathe, drill, waterjet cutter, and laser cutter)
Test and evaluate simple mechanical and mechatronic systems and components for performance and failure behavior using physical and virtual prototypes
Designed an electromechanical four-bar linkage system with an Arduino microcontroller, a DC motor and color sensor using Solidworks and simulated its kinetics such as its power consumption using ADAMS software.
Created engineering drawings, GD&T and BOM to manufacture its parts using 3D Printing, Mill and Lathe.
“Makeathon is a 36-Hour Prototyping and Design Competition held annually at the University of Michigan. The competition aims to bring together the University’s brightest and most creative students and give them the tools they need to build something truly awesome.”
Students who attend Makeathon can choose to attend either Makeathon Case Competition or Makeathon Open Ended Design Challenge. My team and I attended Makeathon Case Competition in which students are assigned a challenge by company representatives. We were assigned by Bosch and TI representatives to build an autonomous mini car that could navigate in a mini city, going through tunnels, stopping at red lights and stop signs.
For more information visit Makeathon’s website here.
What I did:
Led three engineers to build an autonomous and remote-controlled mini car in less than 36 hours.
Modeled a vehicle chassis using Fusion 360 and manufactured parts to mount the electronics using 3D printing.
Presented the final vehicle to a panel of corporate representatives and was awarded 2nd
Today, I was invited by Volkan Patoglu, who currently works on rehabilitation exoskeletons, to see the Robotics Lab at the Sabanci University in Istanbul. When I arrived Volkan took me to the research labs where he collaborates with students to develop robotics projects on various topics such as machine-machine interactions, Ai, and machines, rehabilitation exoskeletons and teleoperation.
First, Volkan introduced me to mechatronics undergraduates who work on robot collaboration. They use Ai algorithms so that each robot can go from its start to finish with the minimum number of steps without ever colliding with one another. Basically, their robots work like primitive versions of the Kiva robots that Amazon uses to move items in its warehouses.
Then I got to see an award-winning arm and knee rehabilitation exoskeletons in the Mechatronics Research Lab. The current challenges with these exoskeletons stem from the fact that humans can change their stiffness and center of mass while they move. Inspired by this challenge and amazing fact, Volkan and his team designed these exoskeletons so that they can work just like the human body and change their properties as a human move in it.
PS: The arm is the most complex link in our body with 5 degrees of freedom.
Finally, I was shown a demo of the Baxter Robot. Baxter basically has two human-like hands and is able to perform complex tasks such as picking up and relocating objects. In the demo, I was told to stand in front of Baxter and move my arms and hands. Amazingly, Baxter mimicked every single move that I made with a slight delay. In the future, robots like Baxter will be used in teleoperations. If you think about it, the teleoperations will revolutionize the medical industry because instead of a patient paying a ton of money to go to that world-famous doctor in the US, the patient will be able to get his care in place. The current challenges with using Baxter in teleoperations is the length of the time-delay and the inability to get precise haptic feedback.
I had lots of fun today and got inspired by the work that Volkan and his team does. Check out Volkan Patoglu and his AI expert friend Esra Erdem’s new startup Interact that aims to revolutionize the rehabilitation industry. It is currently located in Technopark in Istanbul. I will plan a visit in August when I am back in Istanbul.