The goal of this project is to design, build, and test a child size HAFO with computer controlled ankle stiffness. Children with cerebral palsy use passive AFOs, an ankle foot brace made of plastic or carbon fiber, with a constant torsional stiffness to provide stability and to maintain a range of motion. The purpose of the computer controlled HAFO emulator is to provide a range of stiffnesses so that a clinician can evaluate the effectiveness and prescribe the appropriate passive AFO for daily use. This part of the project involves building a test rig to measure the performance of different control methods operating the miniature actuators used in the HAFO.
Along with creating a test stand, we have also used a physical modeling software to simulate our experimental setup. Through the simulations we can take measurements from each stage of our system and predict the experimental results. These simulations will also help prepare for future designs of miniature hydraulic systems.
The project's test stand still had some tweaks to work out before acquiring presentable data, but once experimental data can be collected conclusions will be made about the different configurations.
I really enjoyed working with all the research students in the lab at UMN and I am pleased with the progress made towards the goal of this project. Good luck to all of you with your fall semesters.