UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A virtual reality simulator for the UBC powered upper limb orthosis Zhao, Jidong


An orthosis, an assistive device to be worn by the user, has been proposed as an option for regaining arm function necessary for performing high priority daily living tasks. Since the 1960s, researchers and engineers have been developing assistive devices in a variety of different forms to help people with weak or flail arms. The goal of the UBC Powered Upper Limb Orthosis (PULO) is to design a highly functional orthotic device to support and restore arm function to one entire arm of a person who has severe weakness or paralysis in both upper limbs. A significant quantity of research work was conducted previously by researchers and students under the supervision of Dr. Douglas Romilly. Currently, a prototype exists, but requires further optimization in both the mechanical and control systems. The objective of this research is to model, test and optimize the current UBC PULO control system via the development of a virtual simulator. To accomplish this goal, required tasks include software selection, Simulink-based modeling of the current control system, physical modeling of the mechanical component and creation of a virtual scene. The developed simulator allows the user to provide input commands through the newly developed user interface devices, with the output motion of the prototype orthosis displayed in a Virtual Reality (VR) environment. The specifically designed simulation has indicated a high level of potential suitability of using the virtual simulator for testing and optimizing the current control system, screening and training of potential users for the UBC PULO.

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