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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A functional task analysis and motion simulation for the development of a powered upper-limb orthosis Anglin, Carolyn


The objective of this thesis is to determine an optimal configuration of a powered upper-limborthosis. The criterion is to minimize the complexity, defined as the number of degrees of freedom of the orthosis, while maintaining the ability to perform specific tasks. This goal was realized in three stages of research. In the first stage, potential users were interviewed to determine their task priorities. In the second stage, the natural arm motions of able-bodied individuals performing the tasks identified as high priority were profiled with a video trackingsystem. Finally, a kinematic simulation algorithm was developed to evaluate whether a given orthosis configuration is able to perform the identified high-priority tasks. It was found that the task functionality was overly compromised for any configuration with less than five degrees of freedom. Two different configurations with five degrees of freedom are recommended. The recommendations are: (1) to power all but the motions of elevation and wrist yaw, or (2) to power all but wrist flexion and wrist yaw.

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