Design and control of an MRI compatible series elastic actuator
Şentürk, Yusuf Mert and Patoğlu, Volkan (2016) Design and control of an MRI compatible series elastic actuator. In: IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Biomimetics (ROBIO 2016), Qingdao, China
Bidirectional compatibility requirements with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) have limited the adaptation of rehabilitation robots for use in MRI machines. In this paper, we present the design and control of a Bowden cable-actuated, MRI-compatible series elastic actuator (SEA) that aims to fulfil the bidirectional compatibility requirements to the maximum extend. The proposed device is built using nonconductive diamagnetic MRI compatible materials, fiber optic sensing units and a Bowden cable based actuation, such that imaging artifacts created under strong magnetic field required for neuro-imaging are minimized. In particular, utilization of Bowden-cable transmission enables the placement of the conventional non-MRI compatible control/signal processing units and electric actuators outside the MRI room. This approach not only helps avoid the MR interference caused by these parts and eliminates safety hazards within the MRI room, but also ensures that the performance of the device is not affected by the strong magnetic field, resulting in ideal bidirectional MRI compatibility. Use of a custom-built fiber optic encoder together with nonconductive leaf spring based elastic element enables torque outputs of the device to be measured and used for closed-loop torque control, rendering the system into a series elastic actuator. The proposed MRI compatible SEA is easily customizable and can be used as the building block of higher degrees of freedom MRI compatible robotic devices. Current prototype is validated to administer continuous torques up to 2 Nm with a torque control bandwidth of 1 Hz and a torque sensing resolution of 0.05 Nm.
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