ResearchPad - actuators https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Concept of an artificial muscle design on polypyrrole nanofiber scaffolds]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_8464 Here we present the synthesis and characterization of two new conducting materials having a high electro-chemo-mechanical activity for possible applications as artificial muscles or soft smart actuators in biomimetic structures. Glucose-gelatin nanofiber scaffolds (CFS) were coated with polypyrrole (PPy) first by chemical polymerization followed by electrochemical polymerization doped with dodecylbenzensulfonate (DBS-) forming CFS-PPy/DBS films, or with trifluoromethanesulfonate (CF3SO3-, TF) giving CFS-PPy/TF films. The composition, electronic and ionic conductivity of the materials were determined using different techniques. The electro-chemo-mechanical characterization of the films was carried out by cyclic voltammetry and square wave potential steps in bis(trifluoromethane)sulfonimide lithium solutions of propylene carbonate (LiTFSI-PC). Linear actuation of the CFS-PPy/DBS material exhibited 20% of strain variation with a stress of 0.14 MPa, rather similar to skeletal muscles. After 1000 cycles, the creeping effect was as low as 0,2% having a good long-term stability showing a strain variation per cycle of -1.8% (after 1000 cycles). Those material properties are excellent for future technological applications as artificial muscles, batteries, smart membranes, and so on.

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<![CDATA[Microfluidic viscometry using magnetically actuated micropost arrays]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b600f82463d7e3af00e5a88

Here we describe development of a microfluidic viscometer based on arrays of magnetically actuated micro-posts. Quantitative viscosities over a range of three orders of magnitude were determined for samples of less than 20 μL. This represents the first demonstration of quantitative viscometry using driven flexible micropost arrays. Critical to the success of our system is a comprehensive analytical model that includes the mechanical and magnetic properties of the actuating posts, the optical readout, and fluid-structure interactions. We found that alterations of the actuator beat shape as parameterized by the dimensionless “sperm number” must be taken into account to determine the fluid properties from the measured actuator dynamics. Beyond our particular system, the model described here can provide dynamics predictions for a broad class of flexible microactuator designs. We also show how the model can guide the design of new arrays that expand the accessible range of measurements.

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<![CDATA[Direct Acoustic Stimulation at the Lateral Canal: An Alternative Route to the Inner Ear?]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da11ab0ee8fa60b7995c

Severe to profound mixed hearing loss is associated with hearing rehabilitation difficulties. Recently, promising results for speech understanding were obtained with a direct acoustic cochlear implant (DACI). The surgical implantation of a DACI with standard coupling through a stapedotomy can however be regarded as challenging. Therefore, in this experimental study, the feasibility of direct acoustic stimulation was investigated at an anatomically and surgically more accessible inner ear site. DACI stimulation of the intact, blue-lined and opened lateral semicircular canal (LC) was investigated and compared with standard oval window (OW) coupling. Additionally, stapes footplate fixation was induced. Round window (RW) velocity, as a measure of the performance of the device and its coupling efficiency, was determined in fresh-frozen human cadaver heads. Using single point laser Doppler vibrometry, RW velocity could reliably be measured in low and middle frequency range, and equivalent sound pressure level (LE) output was calculated. Results for the different conditions obtained in five heads were analyzed in subsequent frequency ranges. Comparing the difference in RW membrane velocity showed higher LE in the LC opened condition [mean: 103 equivalent dB SPL], than in LC intact or blue-lined conditions [63 and 74 equivalent dB SPL, respectively]. No difference was observed between the LC opened and the standard OW condition. Inducing stapes fixation, however, led to a difference in the low frequency range of LE compared to LC opened. In conclusion, this feasibility study showed promising results for direct acoustic stimulation at this specific anatomically and surgically more accessible inner ear site. Future studies are needed to address the impact of LC stimulation on cochlear micromechanics and on the vestibular system like dizziness and risks of hearing loss.

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<![CDATA[Instantaneous Metabolic Cost of Walking: Joint-Space Dynamic Model with Subject-Specific Heat Rate]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dafdab0ee8fa60bc57c7

A subject-specific model of instantaneous cost of transport (ICOT) is introduced from the joint-space formulation of metabolic energy expenditure using the laws of thermodynamics and the principles of multibody system dynamics. Work and heat are formulated in generalized coordinates as functions of joint kinematic and dynamic variables. Generalized heat rates mapped from muscle energetics are estimated from experimental walking metabolic data for the whole body, including upper-body and bilateral data synchronization. Identified subject-specific energetic parameters—mass, height, (estimated) maximum oxygen uptake, and (estimated) maximum joint torques—are incorporated into the heat rate, as opposed to the traditional in vitro and subject-invariant muscle parameters. The total model metabolic energy expenditure values are within 5.7 ± 4.6% error of the measured values with strong (R2 > 0.90) inter- and intra-subject correlations. The model reliably predicts the characteristic convexity and magnitudes (0.326–0.348) of the experimental total COT (0.311–0.358) across different subjects and speeds. The ICOT as a function of time provides insights into gait energetic causes and effects (e.g., normalized comparison and sensitivity with respect to walking speed) and phase-specific COT, which are unavailable from conventional metabolic measurements or muscle models. Using the joint-space variables from commonly measured or simulated data, the models enable real-time and phase-specific evaluations of transient or non-periodic general tasks that use a range of (aerobic) energy pathway similar to that of steady-state walking.

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<![CDATA[Generation of the Human Biped Stance by a Neural Controller Able to Compensate Neurological Time Delay]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da74ab0ee8fa60b95d9d

The development of a physiologically plausible computational model of a neural controller that can realize a human-like biped stance is important for a large number of potential applications, such as assisting device development and designing robotic control systems. In this paper, we develop a computational model of a neural controller that can maintain a musculoskeletal model in a standing position, while incorporating a 120-ms neurological time delay. Unlike previous studies that have used an inverted pendulum model, a musculoskeletal model with seven joints and 70 muscular-tendon actuators is adopted to represent the human anatomy. Our proposed neural controller is composed of both feed-forward and feedback controls. The feed-forward control corresponds to the constant activation input necessary for the musculoskeletal model to maintain a standing posture. This compensates for gravity and regulates stiffness. The developed neural controller model can replicate two salient features of the human biped stance: (1) physiologically plausible muscle activations for quiet standing; and (2) selection of a low active stiffness for low energy consumption.

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<![CDATA[Scheduling Independent Partitions in Integrated Modular Avionics Systems]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dafaab0ee8fa60bc444a

Recently the integrated modular avionics (IMA) architecture has been widely adopted by the avionics industry due to its strong partition mechanism. Although the IMA architecture can achieve effective cost reduction and reliability enhancement in the development of avionics systems, it results in a complex allocation and scheduling problem. All partitions in an IMA system should be integrated together according to a proper schedule such that their deadlines will be met even under the worst case situations. In order to help provide a proper scheduling table for all partitions in IMA systems, we study the schedulability of independent partitions on a multiprocessor platform in this paper. We firstly present an exact formulation to calculate the maximum scaling factor and determine whether all partitions are schedulable on a limited number of processors. Then with a Game Theory analogy, we design an approximation algorithm to solve the scheduling problem of partitions, by allowing each partition to optimize its own schedule according to the allocations of the others. Finally, simulation experiments are conducted to show the efficiency and reliability of the approach proposed in terms of time consumption and acceptance ratio.

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<![CDATA[Experimental Evaluation of a Braille-Reading-Inspired Finger Motion Adaptive Algorithm]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daa8ab0ee8fa60ba82fa

Braille reading is a complex process involving intricate finger-motion patterns and finger-rubbing actions across Braille letters for the stimulation of appropriate nerves. Although Braille reading is performed by smoothly moving the finger from left-to-right, research shows that even fluent reading requires right-to-left movements of the finger, known as “reversal”. Reversals are crucial as they not only enhance stimulation of nerves for correctly reading the letters, but they also show one to re-read the letters that were missed in the first pass. Moreover, it is known that reversals can be performed as often as in every sentence and can start at any location in a sentence. Here, we report experimental results on the feasibility of an algorithm that can render a machine to automatically adapt to reversal gestures of one’s finger. Through Braille-reading-analogous tasks, the algorithm is tested with thirty sighted subjects that volunteered in the study. We find that the finger motion adaptive algorithm (FMAA) is useful in achieving cooperation between human finger and the machine. In the presence of FMAA, subjects’ performance metrics associated with the tasks have significantly improved as supported by statistical analysis. In light of these encouraging results, preliminary experiments are carried out with five blind subjects with the aim to put the algorithm to test. Results obtained from carefully designed experiments showed that subjects’ Braille reading accuracy in the presence of FMAA was more favorable then when FMAA was turned off. Utilization of FMAA in future generation Braille reading devices thus holds strong promise.

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<![CDATA[A MRI-Compatible Combined Mechanical Loading and MR Elastography Setup to Study Deformation-Induced Skeletal Muscle Damage in Rats]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db40ab0ee8fa60bd6645

Deformation of skeletal muscle in the proximity of bony structures may lead to deep tissue injury category of pressure ulcers. Changes in mechanical properties have been proposed as a risk factor in the development of deep tissue injury and may be useful as a diagnostic tool for early detection. MRE allows for the estimation of mechanical properties of soft tissue through analysis of shear wave data. The shear waves originate from vibrations induced by an external actuator placed on the tissue surface. In this study a combined Magnetic Resonance (MR) compatible indentation and MR Elastography (MRE) setup is presented to study mechanical properties associated with deep tissue injury in rats. The proposed setup allows for MRE investigations combined with damage-inducing large strain indentation of the Tibialis Anterior muscle in the rat hind leg inside a small animal MR scanner. An alginate cast allowed proper fixation of the animal leg with anatomical perfect fit, provided boundary condition information for FEA and provided good susceptibility matching. MR Elastography data could be recorded for the Tibialis Anterior muscle prior to, during, and after indentation. A decaying shear wave with an average amplitude of approximately 2 μm propagated in the whole muscle. MRE elastograms representing local tissue shear storage modulus Gd showed significant increased mean values due to damage-inducing indentation (from 4.2 ± 0.1 kPa before to 5.1 ± 0.6 kPa after, p<0.05). The proposed setup enables controlled deformation under MRI-guidance, monitoring of the wound development by MRI, and quantification of tissue mechanical properties by MRE. We expect that improved knowledge of changes in soft tissue mechanical properties due to deep tissue injury, will provide new insights in the etiology of deep tissue injuries, skeletal muscle damage and other related muscle pathologies.

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<![CDATA[Prolonged Intermittent Trunk Flexion Increases Trunk Muscles Reflex Gains and Trunk Stiffness]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daa4ab0ee8fa60ba6e89

The goal of the present study was to determine the effects of prolonged, intermittent flexion on trunk neuromuscular control. Furthermore, the potential beneficial effects of passive upper body support during flexion were investigated. Twenty one healthy young volunteers participated during two separate visits in which they performed 1 hour of intermittent 60 seconds flexion and 30 seconds rest cycles. Flexion was set at 80% lumbar flexion and was performed with or without upper body support. Before and after intermittent flexion exposure, lumbar range of motion was measured using inertial measurement units and trunk stability was assessed during perturbations applied in the forward direction with a force controlled actuator. Closed-loop system identification was used to determine the trunk translational admittance and reflexes as frequency response functions. The admittance describes the actuator displacement as a function of contact force and to assess reflexes muscle activation was related to actuator displacement. Trunk admittance gain decreased after unsupported flexion, while reflex gain and lumbar range of motion increased after both conditions. Significant interaction effects confirmed a larger increase in lumbar range of motion and reflex gains at most frequencies analysed following unsupported flexion in comparison to supported flexion, probably compensating for decreased passive tissue stiffness. In contrast with some previous studies we found that prolonged intermittent flexion decreased trunk admittance, which implies an increase of the lumped intrinsic and reflexive stiffness. This would compensate for decreased stiffness at the cost of an increase in cumulative low back load. Taking into account the differences between conditions it would be preferable to offer upper body support during activities that require prolonged trunk flexion.

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<![CDATA[Perceptual Space of Superimposed Dual-Frequency Vibrations in the Hands]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9d2ab0ee8fa60b6495a

The use of distinguishable complex vibrations that have multiple spectral components can improve the transfer of information by vibrotactile interfaces. We investigated the qualitative characteristics of dual-frequency vibrations as the simplest complex vibrations compared to single-frequency vibrations. Two psychophysical experiments were conducted to elucidate the perceptual characteristics of these vibrations by measuring the perceptual distances among single-frequency and dual-frequency vibrations. The perceptual distances of dual-frequency vibrations between their two frequency components along their relative intensity ratio were measured in Experiment I. The estimated perceptual spaces for three frequency conditions showed non-linear perceptual differences between the dual-frequency and single-frequency vibrations. A perceptual space was estimated from the measured perceptual distances among ten dual-frequency compositions and five single-frequency vibrations in Experiment II. The effect of the component frequency and the frequency ratio was revealed in the perceptual space. In a percept of dual-frequency vibration, the lower frequency component showed a dominant effect. Additionally, the perceptual difference among single-frequency and dual-frequency vibrations were increased with a low relative difference between two frequencies of a dual-frequency vibration. These results are expected to provide a fundamental understanding about the perception of complex vibrations to enrich the transfer of information using vibrotactile stimuli.

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<![CDATA[Soft Modular Robotic Cubes: Toward Replicating Morphogenetic Movements of the Embryo]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9e8ab0ee8fa60b6bd0f

In this paper we present a new type of simple, pneumatically actuated, soft modular robotic system that can reproduce fundamental cell behaviors observed during morphogenesis; the initial shaping stage of the living embryo. The fabrication method uses soft lithography for producing composite elastomeric hollow cubes and permanent magnets as passive docking mechanism. Actuation is achieved by controlling the internal pressurization of cubes with external micro air pumps. Our experiments show how simple soft robotic modules can serve to reproduce to great extend the overall mechanics of collective cell migration, delamination, invagination, involution, epiboly and even simple forms of self-reconfiguration. Instead of relying in complex rigid onboard docking hardware, we exploit the coordinated inflation/deflation of modules as a simple mechanism to detach/attach modules and even rearrange the spatial position of components. Our results suggest new avenues for producing inexpensive, yet functioning, synthetic morphogenetic systems and provide new tangible models of cell behavior.

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<![CDATA[Arbitrary Symmetric Running Gait Generation for an Underactuated Biped Model]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db53ab0ee8fa60bdcc1f

This paper investigates generating symmetric trajectories for an underactuated biped during the stance phase of running. We use a point mass biped (PMB) model for gait analysis that consists of a prismatic force actuator on a massless leg. The significance of this model is its ability to generate more general and versatile running gaits than the spring-loaded inverted pendulum (SLIP) model, making it more suitable as a template for real robots. The algorithm plans the necessary leg actuator force to cause the robot center of mass to undergo arbitrary trajectories in stance with any arbitrary attack angle and velocity angle. The necessary actuator forces follow from the inverse kinematics and dynamics. Then these calculated forces become the control input to the dynamic model. We compare various center-of-mass trajectories, including a circular arc and polynomials of the degrees 2, 4 and 6. The cost of transport and maximum leg force are calculated for various attack angles and velocity angles. The results show that choosing the velocity angle as small as possible is beneficial, but the angle of attack has an optimum value. We also find a new result: there exist biped running gaits with double-hump ground reaction force profiles which result in less maximum leg force than single-hump profiles.

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<![CDATA[Passive and semi-active heave compensator: Project design methodology and control strategies]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5aafcd0c463d7e7f0523453c

Heave compensator is a system that mitigates transmission of heave movement from vessels to the equipment in the vessel. In drilling industry, a heave compensator enables drilling in offshore environments. Heave compensator attenuates movement transmitted from the vessel to the drill string and drill bit ensuring security and efficiency of the offshore drilling process. Common types of heave compensators are passive, active and semi-active compensators. This article presents 4 main points. First, a bulk modulus analysis obtains a simple condition to determine if the bulk modulus can be neglected in the design of hydropneumatic passive heave compensator. Second, the methodology to design passive heave compensators with the desired frequency response. Third, four control methodologies for semi-active heave compensator are tested and compared numerically. Lastly, we show experimental results obtained from a prototype with the methodology developed to design passive heave compensator.

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<![CDATA[Presentation of Various Tactile Sensations Using Micro-Needle Electrotactile Display]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da88ab0ee8fa60b9ce64

Tactile displays provoke tactile sensations by artificially stimulating tactile receptors. While many types of tactile displays have been developed, electrotactile displays that exploit electric stimulation can be designed to be thin, light, flexible and thus, wearable. However, the high voltages required to stimulate tactile receptors and limited varieties of possible sensations pose problems. In our previous work, we developed an electrotactile display using a micro-needle electrode array that can drastically reduce the required voltage by penetrating through the high-impedance stratum corneum painlessly, but displaying various tactile sensations was still a challenge. In this work, we demonstrate presentation of tactile sensation of different roughness to the subjects, which is enabled by the arrangement of the electrodes; the needle electrodes are on the fingertip and the ground electrode is on the fingernail. With this arrangement, the display can stimulate the tactile receptors that are located not only in the shallow regions of the finger but also those in the deep regions. It was experimentally revealed that the required voltage was further reduced compared to previous devices and that the roughness presented by the display was controlled by the pulse frequency and the switching time, or the stimulation flow rate. The proposed electrotactile display is readily applicable as a new wearable haptic device for advanced information communication technology.

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<![CDATA[Sanshool on The Fingertip Interferes with Vibration Detection in a Rapidly-Adapting (RA) Tactile Channel]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db4fab0ee8fa60bdb791

An Asian spice, Szechuan pepper (sanshool), is well known for the tingling sensation it induces on the mouth and on the lips. Electrophysiological studies have revealed that its active ingredient can induce firing of mechanoreceptor fibres that typically respond to mechanical vibration. Moreover, a human behavioral study has reported that the perceived frequency of sanshool-induced tingling matches with the preferred frequency range of the tactile rapidly adapting (RA) channel, suggesting the contribution of sanshool-induced RA channel firing to its unique perceptual experience. However, since the RA channel may not be the only channel activated by sanshool, there could be a possibility that the sanshool tingling percept may be caused in whole or in part by other sensory channels. Here, by using a perceptual interference paradigm, we show that the sanshool-induced RA input indeed contributes to the human tactile processing. The absolute detection thresholds for vibrotactile input were measured with and without sanshool application on the fingertip. Sanshool significantly impaired detection of vibrations at 30 Hz (RA channel dominant frequency), but did not impair detection of higher frequency vibrations at 240 Hz (Pacinian-corpuscle (PC) channel dominant frequency) or lower frequency vibrations at 1 Hz (slowly adapting 1 (SA1) channel dominant frequency). These results show that the sanshool induces a peripheral RA channel activation that is relevant for tactile perception. This anomalous activation of RA channels may contribute to the unique tingling experience of sanshool.

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<![CDATA[Simulating Ideal Assistive Devices to Reduce the Metabolic Cost of Running]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dab2ab0ee8fa60babbc4

Tools have been used for millions of years to augment the capabilities of the human body, allowing us to accomplish tasks that would otherwise be difficult or impossible. Powered exoskeletons and other assistive devices are sophisticated modern tools that have restored bipedal locomotion in individuals with paraplegia and have endowed unimpaired individuals with superhuman strength. Despite these successes, designing assistive devices that reduce energy consumption during running remains a substantial challenge, in part because these devices disrupt the dynamics of a complex, finely tuned biological system. Furthermore, designers have hitherto relied primarily on experiments, which cannot report muscle-level energy consumption and are fraught with practical challenges. In this study, we use OpenSim to generate muscle-driven simulations of 10 human subjects running at 2 and 5 m/s. We then add ideal, massless assistive devices to our simulations and examine the predicted changes in muscle recruitment patterns and metabolic power consumption. Our simulations suggest that an assistive device should not necessarily apply the net joint moment generated by muscles during unassisted running, and an assistive device can reduce the activity of muscles that do not cross the assisted joint. Our results corroborate and suggest biomechanical explanations for similar effects observed by experimentalists, and can be used to form hypotheses for future experimental studies. The models, simulations, and software used in this study are freely available at simtk.org and can provide insight into assistive device design that complements experimental approaches.

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<![CDATA[Biomechanical Constraints Underlying Motor Primitives Derived from the Musculoskeletal Anatomy of the Human Arm]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da7cab0ee8fa60b98df0

Neural control of movement can only be realized though the interaction between the mechanical properties of the limb and the environment. Thus, a fundamental question is whether anatomy has evolved to simplify neural control by shaping these interactions in a beneficial way. This inductive data-driven study analyzed the patterns of muscle actions across multiple joints using the musculoskeletal model of the human upper limb. This model was used to calculate muscle lengths across the full range of motion of the arm and examined the correlations between these values between all pairs of muscles. Musculoskeletal coupling was quantified using hierarchical clustering analysis. Muscle lengths between multiple pairs of muscles across multiple postures were highly correlated. These correlations broadly formed two proximal and distal groups, where proximal muscles of the arm were correlated with each other and distal muscles of the arm and hand were correlated with each other, but not between groups. Using hierarchical clustering, between 11 and 14 reliable muscle groups were identified. This shows that musculoskeletal anatomy does indeed shape the mechanical interactions by grouping muscles into functional clusters that generally match the functional repertoire of the human arm. Together, these results support the idea that the structure of the musculoskeletal system is tuned to solve movement complexity problem by reducing the dimensionality of available solutions.

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<![CDATA[Learning New Sensorimotor Contingencies: Effects of Long-Term Use of Sensory Augmentation on the Brain and Conscious Perception]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db0dab0ee8fa60bcac86

Theories of embodied cognition propose that perception is shaped by sensory stimuli and by the actions of the organism. Following sensorimotor contingency theory, the mastery of lawful relations between own behavior and resulting changes in sensory signals, called sensorimotor contingencies, is constitutive of conscious perception. Sensorimotor contingency theory predicts that, after training, knowledge relating to new sensorimotor contingencies develops, leading to changes in the activation of sensorimotor systems, and concomitant changes in perception. In the present study, we spell out this hypothesis in detail and investigate whether it is possible to learn new sensorimotor contingencies by sensory augmentation. Specifically, we designed an fMRI compatible sensory augmentation device, the feelSpace belt, which gives orientation information about the direction of magnetic north via vibrotactile stimulation on the waist of participants. In a longitudinal study, participants trained with this belt for seven weeks in natural environment. Our EEG results indicate that training with the belt leads to changes in sleep architecture early in the training phase, compatible with the consolidation of procedural learning as well as increased sensorimotor processing and motor programming. The fMRI results suggest that training entails activity in sensory as well as higher motor centers and brain areas known to be involved in navigation. These neural changes are accompanied with changes in how space and the belt signal are perceived, as well as with increased trust in navigational ability. Thus, our data on physiological processes and subjective experiences are compatible with the hypothesis that new sensorimotor contingencies can be acquired using sensory augmentation.

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<![CDATA[Bistable Mechanisms for Space Applications]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db28ab0ee8fa60bd0a10

Compliant bistable mechanisms are monolithic devices with two stable equilibrium positions separated by an unstable equilibrium position. They show promise in space applications as nonexplosive release mechanisms in deployment systems, thereby eliminating friction and improving the reliability and precision of those mechanical devices. This paper presents both analytical and numerical models that are used to predict bistable behavior and can be used to create bistable mechanisms in materials not previously feasible for compliant mechanisms. Materials compatible with space applications are evaluated for use as bistable mechanisms and prototypes are fabricated in three different materials. Pin-puller and cutter release mechanisms are proposed as potential space applications.

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<![CDATA[Biomechanical investigation of two plating systems for medial column fusion in foot]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db4fab0ee8fa60bdbad5

Background

Arthrodesis of the medial column (navicular, cuneiform I and metatarsal I) is performed for reasons such as Charcot arthropathy, arthritis, posttraumatic reconstruction or severe pes planus. However, the complication rate is still high and mainly resulting from inadequate fixation. Special plates, designed for medial column arthrodesis, seem to offer potential to reduce the complication rate. The aim of this study was to investigate biomechanically plantar and dorsomedial fusion of the medial column using two new plating systems.

Methods

Eight matched pairs of human cadaveric lower legs were randomized in two groups and medial column fusion was performed using either plantar or dorsomedial variable-angle locking compression plates. The specimens were biomechanically tested under cyclic progressively increasing axial loading with physiological profile of each cycle. In addition to the machine data, mediolateral x-rays were taken every 250 cycles and motion tracking was performed to determine movements at the arthrodesis site. Statistical analysis of the parameters of interest was performed at a level of significance p = 0.05.

Results

Displacement of the talo-navicular joint after 1000, 2000 and 4000 cycles was significantly lower for plantar plating (p≤0.039) while there was significantly less movement in the naviculo-cuneiform I joint for dorsal plating post these cycle numbers (p<0.001). Displacements in all three joints of the medial column, as well as angular and torsional deformations between the navicular and metatarsal I increased significantly for each plating technique between 1000, 2000 and 4000 cycles (p≤0.021). The two plating systems did not differ significantly with regard to stiffness and cycles to failure (p≥0.171).

Conclusion

From biomechanical point of view, although dorsomedial plating showed less movement than plantar plating in the current setup under dynamic loading, there was no significant difference between the two plating systems with regard to stiffness and cycles to failure. Both tested techniques for dorsomedial and plantar plating appear to be applicable for arthrodesis of the medial column of the foot and other considerations, such as access morbidity, associated deformities or surgeon's preference, may also guide the choice of plating pattern. Further clinical studies are necessary before definitive recommendations can be given.

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