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Proceedings Paper

Consider neuromusculoskeletal redundancy and extended proprioception when designing smart structures to interface with humans
Author(s): Jack M. Winters
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Paper Abstract

Despite many well-intentioned attempts to utilize state-of-the-art advanced control systems technology to design contact devices such as powered orthoses, there have been more failures than successes. In part this is due to our limited understanding of neuromechanical function, and of how to optimally design human-technology interfaces. This paper develops a theoretical foundation for mechanical impedance and postural stability for large-scale human systems, and for the analysis and design of human-technology contact interfaces. We start with four basic presuppositions: redundancy is a fundamental feature of biosystem design, muscle actuators possess intrinsic nonlinear stiffness which can be modulated, mechanical interaction between the human and an environment is fundamentally bicausal, and objects with certain properties can become almost a natural extension of the human body. We then develop the key concepts of intimate contact and extended proprioception, and provide examples of how these principles can be applied to practical problems in orthotics, focusing on posture-assist technologies. Finally, suggestions are put forward for applying smart materials and structures to innovative orthotic design.

Paper Details

Date Published: 30 May 1996
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 2718, Smart Structures and Materials 1996: Smart Sensing, Processing, and Instrumentation, (30 May 1996); doi: 10.1117/12.240885
Show Author Affiliations
Jack M. Winters, Catholic Univ. of America (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2718:
Smart Structures and Materials 1996: Smart Sensing, Processing, and Instrumentation
Kent A. Murphy; Dryver R. Huston, Editor(s)

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