DIMLab Stander Symposium Projects


Assessment of Tensegrity-Based Aircraft Wings Capable of Morphing
9:00 a.m. - 10:15 a.m., Austin Shelly Mills

This research involves a computational assessment of the strength and rigidity of tensegrity systems configured as aircraft wings, and comparison to conventional wing structures. Tensegrity systems consist of a series of compressed struts connected by tensioned cables that place the system in a self-equilibrium state. With all components being loaded axially, a tensegrity system has a potentially large strength-to-weight ratio. Further, tensegrity systems are able to alter their shape by changing the length of the cables or struts, presenting the ability to function as morphing aircraft wings. Aircraft with wings that are able to alter their sweep, span, chord, and camber are particularly attractive for their ability change between high maneuverability to high lift to low drag configurations. Current work focuses on tensegrity wing topology optimization formulations.

Spatial Chains for Matching 3-Dimensional Curves
9:00 a.m. - 10:15 a.m., Yucheng Li

This work introduces a methodology for designing a chain of three-dimensional bodies to match a set of arbitrary spatial curves. Three types of spatial bodies are defined to make this match: a rigid segment, a helical segment with constant curvature and torsion but varying length, and a growth segment that maintains its shape but may be scaled to become larger or smaller. The first two body types can be used to define mechanical chains that describe the kinematics of continuum robots, a rapidly emerging area of robotics. All three body types are used for morphometric analysis involving spatial land-mark curve matching. Beyond these applications, this work will more broadly impact machine design through its significant extensions to shape-changing rigid-body mechanism theory. In fact, the methodology for the spatial mechanical chains developed herein is an extension to planar shape-changing mechanism theory.

Design of a Trike for Paraplegic Use with FES
10:45 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., Andy Lee Bazler & Bennett Clark Snyder

The goal of this research is to design, build, and test new pedaling mechanisms to be incorporated into a bicycle-like devices for spinal-cord injured individuals. Many challenges arise in pedaling capability of a paraplegic or tetraplegic patient that are very different from a healthy individual. The intended tricycle users mainly employ Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) to produce quadricep contractions, which are converted into a propelling force. Various concepts for alternative mechanisms have been produced. Pedaling force and motion simulation models were generated to evaluate the concepts. The desired pedaling mechanism must overcome dead-points encountered during the pedaling cycle while optimizing the transmission of power. Thus, the goal is to convert the modest amount of power generated by FES-stimulated legs into cycling power for a tricycle.

Design Modeling of Various CubeSat Solar Arrays Configurations
1:15 p.m. - 2:30 p.m., Ben Markus Millard & Dillon Montgomery Balk

As technology has developed over the years, small form-factor satellites known as CubeSats have been able to replace much larger and conventional earth satellites. Solar arrays are placed on the outside of the CubeSat to generate power for their mission. In order to increase the performance and energy absorption of the CubeSat, the solar array can be configured to deploy and move to track the sun as the satellite moves in its orbit. This research project involves design modeling of various mechanisms configurations to achieve this increase in performance and efficiency, while minimizing the complexity and thus weight of such a mechanism. The three mechanisms explored involve one with a single vertical axis of rotation, one with a single horizontal axis of rotation and a third with a universal type joint for two degrees of freedom. In order to increase the range of motion of the mechanisms, the solar array is elevated away from the rest of the CubeSat via a Sarrus linkage mechanism.

Energy Analysis and Orbit Simulation of Actuated CubeSat Solar Arrays
1:15 p.m. - 2:30 p.m., Justin Todd Ehren

CubeSats are used in space research to explore new technologies and detect data to gain a better understanding of various subjects affecting human life. CubeSats rely on a solar array to generate energy from the sun and perform their various functions in space. This research studies the energy capturing potential of various solar panel configurations and positioning devices for CubeSats. The location and orientation of a CubeSat is simulated in geo-synchronous and sun-synchronous orbits. Two degree-of-freedom (dof) positioning devices are sufficient to continuously adjust the photovoltaic array to face towards the sun. Lower dof systems are desired as they are less complex. Solar panel configurations included in the study are those affixed to the CubeSat sides, deployed into alternative stationary positions, and actuated with one dof, and with two-dof actuation with mechanical limitations. The energy captured over an annual cycle is determined for each case. For systems with fewer than two dof, optimal position settings are determined for the design parameters.

Linkages In Mechanical Presses That Produce Substantial Dwell
3:00 p.m. - 4:15 p.m., Matt Owens Deters & Zack James Jordan

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A mechanical press is a common manufacturing machine that is used to form and cut sheet metal. Presses can use mechanical, hydraulic, or pneumatic power to delivering a force over the stroke of the machine. The benefit of mechanical presses is the high stroking rate that can be achieved with low energy input while in use. Mechanical presses use a flywheel to store energy and a series of linkages to convert rotational motion into linear motion. Some forming operations like coining and squeezing benefit from a dwell at the bottom of the stroke, a position commonly referred to as bottom dead center (BDC). This research explores models for different mechanical systems that obtain this desired dwell. The designs presented include variations of a knuckle joint press mechanism and variations of a geared five bar with connecting rod and sliding output. Each of the mechanisms is being developed as a solid model and animation to assess the viability of the proposed designs.

Tracking the Center of Mass of a Human Using a Statically Equivalent Serial Chain
3:00 p.m. - 4:15 p.m., Alex James Seither & Ian R. Melnyk

This project seeks to validate the use of a statically equivalent serial chain (SESC) in locating and tracking a human’s center of mass (CoM). The statically equivalent serial chain used in this project is comprised of 13 parameters, each roughly corresponding to a portion of the human body. Given these 13 parameters, the SESC points directly at a person’s CoM. Every individual has a unique set parameters to calculate their SESC. These parameters are determined by capturing poses and using the body segment length and position information, as well as the center of pressure reading, acquired from the different poses. A Wii Balance Board and Xbox Kinect were used in this study as inexpensive force plate and motion capture systems. There are other methods for calculating a person’s center of mass, but these require expensive equipment and more complex computational processes. The method proposed here is a low cost, fast, and easy way to accurately predict a person’s CoM. In order to determine the feasibility of the SESC model, we constructed a PVC and steel human model. This way, the weights for each part of the body could be known to validate the accuracy and repeatability of the program. A minimum number of poses required to achieve an accurate CoM prediction was determined by figuring out where human model’s parameters converged, which increases time efficiency of the process. Thus, validating the SESC method as a fast, easy, and fairly accurate solution for predicting a human’s CoM.