Towards detection of user-intended tendon motion with pulsed-wave Doppler ultrasound for assistive hand exoskeleton applications




Stegman, Kelly J.

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Current bio-robotic assistive devices have developed into intelligent and dexterous machines. However, the sophistication of these wearable devices still remains limited by the inherent difficulty in controlling them by sensing user-intention. Even the most commonly used sensing method, which detects the electrical activity of skeletal muscles, offer limited information for multi-function control. An alternative bio-sensing strategy is needed to allow for the assistive device to bear more complex functionalities. In this thesis, a different sensing approach is introduced using Pulsed-Wave Doppler ultrasound in order to non-invasively detect small tendon displacements in the hand. The returning Doppler shifted signals from the moving tendon are obtained with a new processing technique. This processing technique involves a unique way to acquire raw data access from a commercial clinical ultrasound machine and to process the signal with Fourier analysis in order to determine the tendon displacements. The feasibility of the proposed sensing method and processing technique is tested with three experiments involving a moving string, a moving biological beef tendon and a moving human hand tendon. Although the proposed signal processing technique will be useful in many clinical applications involving displacement monitoring of biological tendons, its uses are demonstrated in this thesis for ultrasound-based user intention analysis for the ultimate goal of controlling assistive exoskeletal robotic hands.



Doppler ultrasound, tendon excursion, tendon displacements, user intention, exoskeleton, assistive, rehabilitation, robotic control, Fourier Analysis, velocity spectrogram