MRI-VisAct: a Bowden cable-driven MRI compatible series viscoelastic actuator
Şentürk, Yusuf Mert and Patoğlu, Volkan (2017) MRI-VisAct: a Bowden cable-driven MRI compatible series viscoelastic actuator. (Accepted/In Press)
Presence of the strong magnetic fields in the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) environment limits the integration of robotic rehabilitation systems to the MRI process. The tendency to improve imaging quality by the amplification of magnetic field strength further tightens the bidirectional compatibility constraints on MRI compatible rehabilitation devices. We present the design, control, and characterization of MRI-VisAct—a low-cost, Bowden cable-actuated rotary series viscoelastic actuator that fulfills the bidirectional compatibility requirements to the maximum extend. Components of MRI-VisAct that are placed in the magnet room are built using nonconductive, diamagnetic MRI compatible materials, while ferromagnetic/paramagnetic components are placed in the control room, located outside the MRI room. Power and data transmission are achieved through Bowden-cables and fiber optics, respectively. This arrangement ensures that neuroimaging artifacts are minimized, while safety hazards are eliminated, and the device performance is not affected by the magnetic field. MRIVisAct works under closed-loop torque control enabled through series viscoelastic actuation. MRI-VisAct is fully customizable; it can serve as the building block of higher degrees of freedom MRI compatible robotic devices.
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