The 2000-2001 Gateway design team engaged
in a nine-month design process to develop a robotic arm that is mounted to a
wheelchair with the specific goal of helping paraplegics and quadriplegics
function in their immediate environment.
This year’s team consisted of students from The Ohio State University, Wright State University, and Sinclair Community College and was sponsored by the Gateway
Engineering Coalition. The educational
object of this project was to teach the participants the skills to solve an
engineering design problem in a cooperative environment.
report presents a general background of the project along with a description of
the overall group dynamics. The report
is organized into two main sections: the design and manufacture of the arm,
which was the major task for Wright State and Sinclair, and the controls system of
the arm, for which Ohio Sate was responsible.
The design and manufacture sections describe the design of the base,
lower arm, forearm, and gripper. The
controls portion is broken into sections covering motor testing, controls
hardware, and controls software and strategy.
Several conclusions that were drawn and
could be used to improve the arm include: 1) the center of gravity of the arm
should be lowered, 2) an attempt should be made to make the arm lighter, 3)
electrical current should be drawn off of both wheelchair batteries instead of
just one, 4) all of the motors should be of the same type, preferably DC, to
simplify the control scheme, 5) a new controller, other than the OOPic, should
be considered, and 6) the gripper should be examined and possibly modified so
that it can grip small objects.
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