Until now, prosthetics have been strictly mechanical systems that a person has to learn to use. In the future, it is goal of many to be able to use the electrical signals from the body to control a prosthetic. This intelligent prosthetic would then be a better replication of the actual human arm, allowing the user more functionality with their prosthetic as well as a shorter learning curve. At LeTourneau, we are working with an electrical controller that will use the signals from the brain to run the model arm, and as a computer optimization program. To learn more about this project and to see our arm in action, click here.
The virtual environment (VE) is a robotic testing environment designed to evaluate and validate control strategies for the Intelligent Prosthetic Arm (IPA).
The virtual environment uses an assessment device for input/output testing. This device has been used to test human motor control learning both unimanually and bimanually.
Results from these tests have been useful for prosthetic arm design.
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is the most common knee injury for athletes and general population alike. 50,000 ACL reconstructions are performed every year. What is interesting is that there is a small group of people called "copers" who tear their ACL, never have surgery, yet return to all athletic and recreational activities. Utilizing our laboratory equipment (the motion analysis system, SIMM, the force plate and the EMG machine) our group endeavors to explain why these "copers" can function without their ACL. Read more about this project.
In trying to better understand how the knee works, specifically the forces in the ligaments, we have developed a 3D musculoskeletal model (using SIMM) of a knee. An acurate model will allow us to observe what internal forces occur in the knee from different activites thus allowing us to see how injuries occur.
In order to verify our model we have used a robotic knee fixture with a cadaver knee to test and measure actual forces in the muscles and ligaments during knee cutting movements as in the ACL Deficient Knee Research. The results from literature, the robotic knee, and the model will be compared so as to develope a more accurate knee model.To learn more, click here.
Having an arm with little or no function is frustrating. Creating an orthotic that uses the signals of weakened arm muscles and translating them to motion could allow someone to regain that function. We will work to take signals from weakened arm muscles and translate that into arm motion.
This material is based upon work supported in part by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0087898. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation (NSF).