Survey on Main Drive Methods Used in Humanoid Robotic Upper Limbs

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Journal profile

The Open Access journal Cyborg and Bionic Systems, published in association with BIT, promotes the knowledge interchange and hybrid system codesign between living beings and robotic systems.

Editorial board

Cyborg and Bionic Systems’ editorial board is led by Toshio Fukuda (Beijing Institute of Technology) and is comprised of experts who have made significant and well recognized contributions to the field.

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Review Article

Noninvasive Human-Prosthesis Interfaces for Locomotion Intent Recognition: A Review

The lower-limb robotic prostheses can provide assistance for amputees’ daily activities by restoring the biomechanical functions of missing limb(s). To set proper control strategies and develop the corresponding controller for robotic prosthesis, a prosthesis user’s intent must be acquired in time, which is still a major challenge and has attracted intensive attentions. This work focuses on the robotic prosthesis user’s locomotion intent recognition based on the noninvasive sensing methods from the recognition task perspective (locomotion mode recognition, gait event detection, and continuous gait phase estimation) and reviews the state-of-the-art intent recognition techniques in a lower-limb prosthesis scope. The current research status, including recognition approach, progress, challenges, and future prospects in the human’s intent recognition, has been reviewed. In particular for the recognition approach, the paper analyzes the recent studies and discusses the role of each element in locomotion intent recognition. This work summarizes the existing research results and problems and contributes a general framework for the intent recognition based on lower-limb prosthesis.

Research Article

Origami Folding by Multifingered Hands with Motion Primitives

Origami, a traditional Japanese art, is an example of superior handwork produced by human hands. Achieving such extreme dexterity is one of the goals of robotic technology. In the work described in this paper, we developed a new general-purpose robot system with sufficient capabilities for performing Origami. We decomposed the complex folding motions into simple primitives and generated the overall motion as a combination of these primitives. Also, to measure the paper deformation in real-time, we built an estimator using a physical simulator and a depth camera. As a result, our experimental system achieved consecutive valley folds and a squash fold.

Research Article

Functional Electrical Stimulation of Peroneal Muscles on Balance in Healthy Females

Balance improvement could contribute to ankle stability for the prevention of ankle sprains. Functional electrical stimulation (FES) is an effective way of augmenting muscle activity and improving balance. This study investigated the effect of FES of peroneal muscles on single-and double-leg balance. Fifteen healthy females ( , , and ) performed single- and double-leg standing balance tests with eyes open and closed before and after 15-minute FES intervention during treadmill running at a comfortable, self-selected pace. FES of peroneal muscles was provided bilaterally, using an Odstock Dropped Foot Stimulator. The total excursion of the centre of pressure (COP) was calculated to assess the standing balance control ability. The total excursion of COP in single- and double-leg stance with eyes open reduced significantly after FES intervention by 14.7% ( ) and 5.9% ( ), respectively. The eyes-closed condition exhibited a 12.7% ( ) reduction in single-leg stance but did not significantly change in double-leg stance ( ). Limb preference did not account for balance postintervention. No significant difference in total excursion of COP was found between preferred and less preferred limbs with both visual conditions ( ). FES of peroneal muscles improved standing balance control with eyes open in double-leg and single-leg stance and with eyes closed in double-leg stance. The improvements in balance control with FES treatment did not vary concerning limb preference.

Research Article

Classifying Motion Intention of Step Length and Synchronous Walking Speed by Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy

In some patients who have suffered an amputation or spinal cord injury, walking ability may be degraded or deteriorated. Helping these patients walk independently on their own initiative is of great significance. This paper proposes a method to identify subjects’ motion intention under different levels of step length and synchronous walking speed by using functional near-infrared spectroscopy technology. Thirty-one healthy subjects were recruited to walk under six given sets of gait parameters (small step with low/midspeed, midstep with low/mid/high speed, and large step with midspeed). The channels were subdivided into more regions. More frequency bands (6 subbands on average in the range of 0-0.18 Hz) were decomposed by applying the wavelet packet method. Further, a genetic algorithm and a library for support vector machine algorithm were applied for selecting typical feature vectors, which were represented by important regions with partial important channels mentioned above. The walking speed recognition rate was 71.21% in different step length states, and the step length recognition rate was 71.21% in different walking speed states. This study explores the method of identifying motion intention in two-dimensional multivariate states. It lays the foundation for controlling walking-assistance equipment adaptively based on cerebral hemoglobin information.

Research Article

Shape Estimation of Soft Manipulator Using Stretchable Sensor

The soft robot manipulator is attracting attention in the surgical fields with its intrinsic softness, lightness in its weight, and safety toward the human organ. However, it cannot be used widely because of its difficulty of control. To control a soft robot manipulator accurately, shape sensing is essential. This paper presents a method of estimating the shape of a soft robot manipulator by using a skin-type stretchable sensor composed of a multiwalled carbon nanotube (MWCNT) and silicone (p7670). The sensor can be easily fabricated and applied by simply attaching it to the surface of the soft manipulator. In its fabrication, MWCNT is sprayed on a teflon sheet, and liquid-state silicone is poured on it. After curing, we turn it over and cover it with another silicone layer. The sensor is fabricated with a sandwich structure to decrease the hysteresis of the sensor. After calibration and determining the relationship between the resistance of the sensor and the strain, three sensors are attached at 120° intervals. Using the obtained data, the curvature of the manipulator is calculated, and the entire shape is reconstructed. To validate its accuracy, the estimated shape is compared with the camera data. We experiment with three, six, and nine sensors attached, and the result of the error of shape estimation is compared. As a result, the minimum tip position error is approximately 8.9 mm, which corresponded to 4.45% of the total length of the manipulator when using nine sensors.

Research Article

Pulsed Microfluid Force-Based On-Chip Modular Fabrication for Liver Lobule-Like 3D Cellular Models

In vitro three-dimensional (3D) cellular models with native tissue-like architectures and functions have potential as alternatives to human tissues in regenerative medicine and drug discovery. However, it is difficult to replicate liver constructs that mimic in vivo microenvironments using current approaches in tissue engineering because of the vessel-embedded 3D structure and complex cell distribution of the liver. This paper reports a pulsed microflow-based on-chip 3D assembly method to construct 3D liver lobule-like models that replicate the spatial structure and functions of the liver lobule. The heterogeneous cell-laden assembly units with hierarchical cell distribution are fabricated through multistep photopatterning of different cell-laden hydrogels. Through fluid force interaction by pulsed microflow, the hierarchical assembly units are driven to a stack, layer by layer, and thus spatially assemble into 3D cellular models in the closed liquid chamber of the assembly chip. The 3D models with liver lobule-like hexagonal morphology and radial cell distribution allow the dynamic perfusion culture to maintain high cell viability and functional expression during long-term culture in vitro. These results demonstrate that the fabricated 3D liver lobule-like models are promising for drug testing and the study of individual diagnoses and treatments.