FURI | Spring 2020

Design and Characterization of Variable Stiffness Soft Actuators for Lateral Ankle Support

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This research explores the design of a soft robotic ankle-foot orthosis (SR-AFO) exosuit designed to support the ankle in the inversion and eversion directions without restricting motion in the dorsiflexion and plantar-flexion directions. The focus is to optimize the design of an inflatable fabric-based actuator with imbedded rigid pieces. A universal testing machine (UTM) was used to deflect the actuators in a cantilever beam orientation to determine the force needed to deflect 20mm to characterize the stiffness. The design will be used assist in walking rehabilitation. The ideal design will be determined from the data showing the greatest stiffness.

Student researcher

Tiffany Hertzell

Tiffany Alexandria Hertzell

Mechanical engineering

Hometown: Cary, Illinois, United States

Graduation date: Spring 2020