Graduation Year

2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.S.M.E.

Degree Granting Department

Mechanical Engineering

Major Professor

Rajiv Dubey, Ph.D.

Keywords

Rehabilitation robotics, Programming environment, Control algorithm, GUI, WMRA

Abstract

A Wheelchair-Mounted Robotic Arm (WMRA) was designed to aid people with limited or no upper-limb usage to accomplish activities of daily living (ADLs). The primary objective of this research was to enhance the performance of the WMRA by improving the communication protocols and functions between the hardware and software used for its control. Previously, the control algorithm of the robotic arm was tested in simulation and in the physical arm. These implementations required a combination of Matlab and C++ language and introduced some software instability under Windows operating system. To improve the performance of the WMRA, the programs for hardware control were separated from the ones intended for simulation. The control algorithm of the arm was rewritten using C++ language to facilitate the communication with the controller boards and to make the system more stable and reliable. As a result, the communication delays were decreased since the interfaces between different programs is no longer needed. Preliminary tests were performed to demonstrate the stability and reliability of the new control algorithm. The overall response of the control implementation was enhanced and the algorithm routines and optimization procedures achieved the same goals with more efficiency. Accuracy and repeatability tests were performed, and data was collected and analyzed.

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