Date of Award

8-2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Electrical Engineering

Advisor

Walker, Ian D.

Committee Member

Green , Keith E.

Committee Member

Groff , Richard E.

Abstract

This thesis presents a new class of biologically inspired robots: continuum robotic surfaces. This work is fueled by the question: can the interaction between robot and environment be advanced with “programmable surfaces in space?” The novelty of continuum robotic surfaces lies in their ability to be actively controlled and reconfigured in what we believe is the current “missing dimension” in robot movements — two–dimensional space. We believe that such surfaces will lend themselves to more complex applications. However, to effectively deploy such surfaces for these complex applications, kinematic models will be necessary to plan and control desired configurations. The forward kinematic models for continuum surfaces introduced herein are an initial step in achieving this goal. Then, to test the precision of our model, we validate it via hardware realizations. Lastly, with the kinematic model and hardware realization, the next step is to explore one of the aforementioned complex applications for these surfaces. We believe that a continuum robotic surface can lend itself to upper–extremity stroke rehabilitation in a novel way. Our efforts in interactively designing and building a working prototype with the clinical and staff healthcare subject matter experts at the Roger C. Peace Rehabilitation Center of the Greenville Hospital System are detailed.

Included in

Robotics Commons

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