|Title||Interaction control capabilities of an MR-compatible compliant actuator for wrist sensorimotor protocols during fMRI|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2015|
|Authors||Sergi, F, Erwin, A, O'Malley, MK|
|Journal||IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics|
|Keywords||compliant actuators.; Force control; functional MRI (fMRI); MR-compatible robotics|
This paper describes the mechatronic design and characterization of a novel MR-compatible actuation system designed for a parallel force-feedback exoskeleton for measurement and/or assistance of wrist pointing movements during functional neuroimaging. The developed actuator is based on the interposition of custom compliant elements in series between a non-backdrivable MR-compatible ultrasonic piezoelectric motor and the actuator output. The inclusion of physical compliance allows estimation of interaction force, enabling force-feedback control and stable rendering of a wide range of haptic environments during continuous scanning. Through accurate inner-loop
velocity compensation and force-feedback control, the actuator is capable of displaying both a low-impedance, subject-in-charge mode, and a high stiffness mode. These modes enable the execution of shared haptic protocols during continuous fMRI.
The detailed experimental characterization of the actuation system is presented, including a backdrivability analysis, demonstrating an achievable impedance range of 22 dB, within a bandwidth of 4 Hz (for low stiffness). The stiffness control bandwidth depends on the specific value of stiffness: a bandwidth of 4 Hz is achieved at low stiffness (10% of the physical springs stiffness), while 8 Hz is demonstrated at higher stiffness. Moreover, coupled stability is demonstrated also for stiffness values substantially (25%) higher than the physical stiffness of the spring. Finally, compatibility tests conducted in a 3T scanner are presented, validating the potential of inclusion of the actuator in an exoskeleton system for support of wrist movements during continuous MR scanning, without significant reduction in image quality.