College - Author 1

College of Engineering

Department - Author 1

Mechanical Engineering Department

College - Author 2

College of Engineering

Department - Author 2

Mechanical Engineering Department

College - Author 3

College of Engineering

Department - Author 3

Mechanical Engineering Department


Dr. Alan Zhang, College of Engineering, Mechanical Engineering Department.

Funding Source

Paul and Sandi Bonderson




Tensegrity structures are composed of stiff rods and elastic cables suspended in a flexible tension network. Their inherent properties have several key advantages when used in assistive medical devices such as supportive braces or rehabilitation exoskeletons: 1) the lightweight and natural compliance reduces the power consumption required to operate the system; 2) the system stiffness and pretension can be individually tuned to accommodate the user’s needs; and 3) the impact-resistant properties can protect users in the event of collisions and falls. This project explores the design space of assistive tensegrity devices to augment human dexterity in the upper limb. Suitable tensegrity configurations were built through rapid prototyping and then characterized by their performance. The work contributes to a new data-driven framework for the long-term goals of the work: advancing the capability of automated tensegrity system design and contributing low-cost, custom tensegrity devices to the next generation of assistive medical devices.




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