Design Projects

The Center for Biomechanics and Rehabilitation has strong design activities including involvement in the senior design program. Some examples of ongoing and recent design projects include:

Articulated cross-country sit-ski for backcountry use

This senior design team developed an articulated sit-ski for backcountry use.

The client that this was designed for is a high-functioning paraplegic who has undertaken several traverses of the Sierra Nevada mountains.

His standard sit-ski was less than ideal for side-slope conditions.

The prototype is undergoing testing this winter (2014/2015).

Adaptation of FourCross downhill mountain bike

Adaptation of FourCross downhill mountain bike.

This senior design team modified the braking system to be functional for people with incomplete quadriplegia as well as others with upper extremity weakness and/or dysfunction.

They also modified the seating system with modular panels to increase support and stability as required by individual users.

The client was the Adaptive Sports Center in Crested Butte, CO.

The modified bike was introduced into their fleet for the summer 2014 season.

This project won first place in the Senior Design Trade Fair in spring 2014.

Ice tool for upper extremity amputees

Ice climbing involves significant wrist motion for setting the pick of the ice-tool into the ice. Most upper extremity prosthetics lack the necessary motions.

This team of graduate students design a device that uses motion of the forearm to store and release energy into a mechanical element to provide the necessary motion profile.

This project was undertaken for a graduate design class.

The client was the Adaptive Sports Center in Crested Butte, CO.

Reverse gearing system for Reactive Adaptations hand-cranked mountain bikes

This senior design team is developing a reverse gearing system to be added to the hand-cranked mountain bikes designed, built and sold by Reactive Adaptations.

Additional Projects

Wheelchair dynamometer

A senior design team developed a dynamometer for use with manual wheelchairs. Effective rolling resistance can be varied via a magnetic brake to simulate propelling over various surfaces and slopes. The dynamometer is being used for upper extremity biomechanics studies in the CBRR.

Prosthetic knee for cycling

Another senior design project aiming to create a prosthetic knee to be used by a trans-femoral amputee during cycling. The client wanted to be able to get out of the saddle while going uphill or otherwise accelerating. This project won first place in the Senior Design Trade Fair in spring 2013.

Olympic Pommel horse

Pommel horse is one of the apparatus used in men’s gymnastics competition. The U.S. Team coaches are seeking additional tools to help improve the performance of their athletes in this event. A senior design team is utilizing inertial sensors from APDM Movement Monitoring Systems to provide athletes and coaches with feedback on timing and rhythm during training. This project is ongoing as of the 2014/2015 academic year.

Olympic Trampoline (Phase I)

Time-of-flight is one of the scoring metrics in competition. Commercially available systems for measuring time-of-flight are too expensive ($2000+) for most training gyms. A senior design team was tasked with creating a highly-accurate, but reasonably priced, time-of-flight measurement system to be deployed to training centers for U.S. Olympic gymnasts and hopefuls. Their prototype solution was sufficiently accurate but could be produced for under $400. This project won first place in the Senior Design Trade Fair in fall 2014.

Olympic Trampoline (Phase II)

This senior design team is tasked with improving the hardware and software from the first team as well as adding measurement and reporting of jump height and foot placement relative to the scoring box. This project is ongoing as of the 2014/2015 academic year.

Alpine sit ski

Undergraduate research fellow project to design an alpine monoski with increased travel and improved damping.

EMG controlled 3D printed prosthetic hand

An undergraduate research fellow project to develop a low-cost EMG controlled 3D printed prosthetic hand and wrist.

Improvements to the Ropes Course at the Adaptive Sports Center in Crested Butte

This project is still in the planning phase.

Wrist Gimbal: Forearm and Wrist Exoskeleton

In this project, we have designed and built a desktop exoskeleton robot for rehabilitation of stroke or spinal cord injury patients, as well as for motor learning and adaptation research. Wrist Gimbal has three active DOF, corresponding to pronation/supination, flexion/extension and adduction/abduction joints. We mainly focused on a robust, safe and practical device design to facilitate clinical implementation, testing and acceptance. An arm rest with padding and straps, a handle with adjustable distal distance and height and a large inner volume contribute to ease of use and of axis alignment. The data acquisition and control is implemented via Quanser hardware and QuaRC with Matlab/Simulink. We are currently working on the development of visual interfaces for physical therapy and error augmentation.

Haptic Tunable Impedance Prosthesis

The project consists of the design and implementation of a haptic tunable impedance upper extremity prosthesis. The main objective is to achieve complete flexibility in adjusting the relationship between the grip force generated at the prehensor based on subject’s contralateral shoulder movement, which is lacking in current body-powered prostheses. Such flexibility will allow optimization of body-powered prosthetic device impedance and sensitivity parameters via human subject experiments. There will be two motors used in teleoperation mode, for which the sensitivities, base cable tensions, simulated spring stiffness and damping values will remain easily adjustable via control software. Once the controller is implemented, testing and evaluation of the device will be conducted to quantify device specifications and to satisfy intuitive usability requirements.

Haptic Paddle

Haptic paddles are single degree-of-freedom force-feedback interfaces used in lab components of system dynamics, robotics, control systems or haptics courses. The original haptic paddle was designed at Stanford University and since then several variations were developed and used at Rice University, Johns Hopkins University, University of Utah and Vanderbilt University, among others. We have developed our version of the haptic paddle to be used in instructional laboratories associated with Control Systems and Mechatronics courses. Our design focuses on minimizing the amount of required machining, a robust transmission design that allows speed control (unlimited rotations) in addition to position and impedance control modes and Arduino-based affordable data acquisition and control interface, to significantly lower the cost and increase ease of adoption at other institutions.