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Technology TransferPatents ■ Robotics/Sensors/Actuation

Robotics / Sensors / Actuation

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The invention relates to a material formed by carbon nanotubes and polymerized ionic liquid and the method for producing such material. This material is used for the production of the active part of a soft actuator and it has improved conductibility and mechanical characteristics compared to the existing ones.
A haptic interface system comprising a shell which may be manipulated by a user, an actuator mechanically coupled to the shell and configured to provide a haptic stimulus upon a finger tip of the user and a motor assembly configured to move the actuator according to three degrees of freedom.
The invention relates to a new device for the motorized control of the aiming and scanning motions of a laser beam. The particular conformation of the presented device permits to increase the overall performances in terms of speed and precision of the laser orientation in comparison to the existing devices. Its first potential application is laser microsurgery, similar devices present in prior art are called laser micromanipulator. Therefore, the system could be termed as “Linear actuated Laser Micromanipulator”.
The invention relates to a reading circuit of an electric signal produced by a POSFET device comprising a transconductance amplifier connected at its inverting input to the output of the POSFET device. Said transconductance amplifier being arranged to receive a signal coming from the POSFET device representative of a force or pressure applied on it, and produce in output at least one current signal representative of said force or pressure. The device is applied to neurons being arranged to receive said current signal and to produce as output a pulse train having a frequency proportional at least one current signal produced by the transconductance amplifier.
The device relates to a deformable actuator with an axial configuration comprising a structure composed by concentric layers formed by an overlap of at least two electro-active layers and at least three conductive layers. The device comprising a control system able to supply each layer with a distinct value of voltage/current.
The invention relates to a device that includes: • an elongated structure; an optical apparatus associated with the elongated structure and adapted to be exposed to a portion located within a body cavity of a patient; • an actuating apparatus arranged to control the position of the elongated structure in such a way as to orient the optical device into the body cavity. The elongated structure has a proximal portion and a portion with a deformable extremity that has the tendency to remain and elastically return in default state in which it is normally flexed. The drive apparatus comprises a guided mobile pusher arranged to insist against the said extremity in order to angularly move it from the folded state to a substantially straightened state.
A Model-Based, Whole-Body Motion-Control (WBMC) system for an articulated robot required to perform simultaneous tasks is described, the system comprising: • one or more attractors each of which is an operationally independent closed-loop, model-based torque/force-control module associated with a corresponding robot’s controlled task, and is designed to receive a quantity computed based on one or more representing the state of the robot, and to output robot’s joint torques which are to be applied to robot’s active joints to attract the robot’s current state to a robot’s target state; • a torque and/or linear force command generator designed to receive the robot’s joint torques and/or linear forces from the one or more attractors and to generate a torque and/or linear force command for the robot based on the received robot’s joint torques to cause the robot’s current state to converge to the robot’s target state.
The invention relates to a new robotic device able to grow, crawl, and dig. The main concept of this robotic device is the inspiration to the capability of plant roots to penetrate in the soil while they grow and elongate by cells addition from the tip. This system, which has a cylindrical shape, can develop its own body by adding artificial material and, consequently, can elongate and mimic the root behavior in penetrating and exploring the soil in an efficient way. The concept of a mechanical system that can grow leads to a new generation of robots which can create some parts of their body and adapt more safely to surrounding environments.
The invention relates to an actuated joint comprising a first element mobile over a second element, a first actuator and a second actuator linked at said first and second elements in order to contol in agonist-agonist manner the movement of the joint, in which the first actuator has a maximum or nominal power higher respect the second actuator. The second actuator comprises at least a first extensible elastic element in order to accumulate a maximum amount of elastic energy greater than the first actuator.
The invention relates to the sector of robotic devices for the autonomous and non-disruptive penetration and the movement inside structured and primarily non-structured environments like for example: the ground, rubbles or organic tissues. More particularly the invention relates to a device with a continuous three-dimensional track suitable for exploration, monitoring or diagnostic objectives.
A three-dimensional structure of an electromagnetic nanoresonator, comprising a stack of laterally confined layers that includes at least a first and a second layer of a respective conductive material between which a dielectric layer is interposed, which define a resonant equivalent electrical circuit having a nominal resonant frequency which is a function of the geometrical dimensions of the structure, wherein said layers of conductive material and said dielectric layer have at least a respective accessible surface area, adapted to be exposed in a liquid environment of immersion of said structure.
A system for detecting a single strand target nucleotide sequence comprising: • at least one first nucleic acid probe from 10 to 14 bases, to the 5’ end of which at least one fluorophore is bound; • at least one second nucleic acid probe from 35 to 50 bases, comprising, from the 5’ to the 3’ end • a first segment having a nucleotide sequence complementary to the first nucleic acid probe, • at least one quencher, • a second segment having a nucleotide sequence complementary to at least part of the target nucleotide sequence.
Articular joint for exoskeleton of an articulation interposed between at least two bone ends characterised in that it comprises at least one first yoke axially put on along at least a first said bone end, at least one second yoke axially put on along at least one second said bone end and at least one articulating means interposed between said first yoke and said second yoke and having a rotation axis substantially coaxial with a rotation axis of said articulation, at least one joint component of said articulating means being constituted by at least one ring-like element and a correspondent other joint component of said articulating means being constituted by at least one circular sector wounding together with relative sliding around an external perimeter of said ring-like element.
An electronic measurement unit for a polymorphous device, comprising a number of lateral structures, each lateral structure including: a support structure; at least one sensor constrained to the support structure and generating an electrical signal indicative of a deformation of the support structure; and a coupling structure that constrains a corresponding external covering element to the support structure in a releasable manner, so that when the external covering element is constrained to the support structure and an external force acts on the external covering element, the electrical signal is indicative of the external force.
This patent concerns the design of a novel type of passive variable impedance actuator aimed at replicating a specific property of human co-contraction, related to the ability to cope with uncertainties affecting any physical/biological system. The designed actuator is well-suited to mimic the main features of human co-contraction. In particular, the dynamical model of this actuator is such that the variance of the state vector in response to noisy disturbances can be reduced by tuning the passive stiffness of the system. A practical example of such an actuation system is based upon non-linear springs (to regulate the stiffness) with the critical feature of attaching some elastic elements to a fixed reference/ground (to reject disturbances to a desired extent). The antagonist actuator structure is actually analog to Hill's model of the human muscle/tendon system, emphasizing its biological relevance.
The invention aims to provide a solution for the realization of a highly effective, practical, and at the same time robust arrangement; this arrangement can be totally integrated with any type of support, such as textiles and others flexible materials, and in particular wearable clothing, accessories and equipments. The tactile control arrangement allows obtaining a flexible device with low thickness and substantially flat surface, without buttons, reliefs or three-dimensional elements, and arranged to be touched with one or more fingers in order to issue commands to electronic devices connected to it via cable or wireless network.
The Nano Structures department at IIT has developed the SHEWOD (SuperHydrophobic EWOD) device, concerning the fabrication of a microfluidic EWOD (ElectroWetting On Dielectric) device for performing manipulation of aqueous solution droplets. The major advance of the system is the integration of a superhydrophobic surface which enhances the mobility of the droplets on the substrate by means of electrical fields. The development of SHEWOD device requires two separate phases of microfabrication. The first step is a process for the building the electrodes on a Si substrate, while the second one is a microfabrication process to coat the Si chip with a superhydrofobic, thickness-tunable, nano-structured PMMA surface.
The present invention refers to a device, that is autonomous or that can be associated with another structure, for the passive and the cyclical variation of the buoyancy configuration, which can be used in particular, but not exclusively, in the field of equipment for monitoring the environment.
A novel revolute actuator transmission designed for force control applications. The actuator uses a hypocycloid mechanism to stretch a linear spring in a nonlinear way; it has extremely low mechanical impedance, low friction, excellent mechanical efficiency, and high energy storage capabilities relative to its size. The accurate, compact torque control actuation systems and the power-to-weight ratio make this actuator unmatched on the market.
In the field of micro-nano actuators we have developed a thin flexible nano-composite membrane, biocompatible, magnetically actuated and deflected by planar microcoils, integrated under the membrane on a conductive silicon substrate. The membrane is composed by a biocompatible plastic film with magnetic nano-particles inside the polymer matrix. The membrane is deflected by an array of micro-coils embedded in the substrate under the membrane itself.
The novelty of the proposed variable stiffness actuation unit is the use of specially cam shaped lever arm mechanism with a variable pivot axis (instead of regulating the effective arm length or the point where the force is applied). This permits the compact implementation of the variable stiffness module through the use of: reduced length lever arm, smaller springs and a rack and pinion mechanism to regulate the lever arm pivot position.
This invention realizes free-standing conductive ultra-thin films based on poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene)/poly (styrenesulfonate) (PEDOT/PSS), proposing a fabrication process based on a modified Supporting Layer technique, that provides for the easy production of conductive nanofilms having a very large surface area with typical thickness of tens of nanometres. The free-standing nanofilms can be manipulated, folded and unfolded in water many times without suffering from cracks, disaggregation or from loss of conductive properties. After collecting them onto rigid or soft substrates, they retain their functionality.Possible applications are foreseen in the field of sensing and actuation, as well as in the biomedical field, e.g. as smart substrates for cell culturing and stimulation.
The invention relates to a compact and light stiffness-adjustable rotary joint with a low energy consumption and which allows to adjust the stiffness in an even wider range than the prior art.
Bioengineered Micro Electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) make it possible to fabricate sensors and actuators in microscopic dimensions mimicking already naturally developed sensing solutions, like natural Hair Cells, equipping commercial and high-tech electronics with devices for augmented reality. This invention describes a simple and original design and fabrication processing of a stress-driven out-of-plane bent Artificial Hair Cell exploiting the piezo- electricity and piezo- resistivity properties of material both as read-out and actuation. This device presents a four or six electrodes configuration able to sense a fluid flow or shear forces in direction parallel to the device substrate. The interplay of both piezo- resistance and piezo- electric allows tuning the best sensitivity and dynamic working range for any single experimental situation, during a flow or inertial force measurement.
The Robotics, Brain and Cognitive Sciences research group, has developed a new low voltage polymeric actuator that, in contrast with present day devices which are typically capable only of bending motion, can deliver linear, bending or simultaneous linear/bending motion. This actuator comprises three electrodes and a solid electrolyte. Two electrodes are made of active materials that contract or expand as result of charge injection (ex. carbon nanotubes) or conducting polymer (ex. polypyrrole, polyaniline, polyethylene dioxythiophene, poly 3-methylthiophene etc.). One electrode is passive and acts as counter electrode and is made of conductive flexible materials (ex. a metal spring, conductive fabric, carbon plastic composites) in order to allow the motion of the actuator device. The solid electrolyte is a ionic conductive and electrical insulator and is made of a salt embedded in a polymeric matrix (ex. an ionic liquid in a PVdF matrix or poly(methyl methacrylate), polyethylene oxide, polyacrylonitrile, etc.).
These rotary actuators embed a flexible transmission system which allows the actuator to be safe (towards human and environment) and robust during interaction. Differently from existing compliant actuation solutions, these actuators incorporate a variable physical damping system which is in fact a semi active damper which is used to regulate oscillations, achieve high close loop bandwidth and fast and precise motions.
A human skin moisture measuring device comprising an interdigitated resistive sensor on a transparent support, an image sensing device, such as a video camera, a CCD device or a C-MOS device, and a lighting device. The device allows evaluating at the same time the moisture of skin and the real surface of skin in contact with the sensor; this last feature can be also used for studies on tactile perception.
Compared to traditional oil-based hydraulics, water hydraulics is environment-friendly, clean, and safe. In addition water has faster dynamic response than oil. However, due to water properties such as low viscosity, high corrosiveness, and high vapor pressure the development of water-hydraulic components is very challenging. This patent introduces a novel 4-way rotary type electro-hydraulic servo-valve designed for water-hydraulic robotic applications and other dynamic applications. The valve has four ports: two of them are connected to the hydraulic power supply, and the other two to the hydraulic actuator. The flow direction is determined by the valve rotary spool position. The internal spool geometry was designed to avoid sudden changes in the flow direction and thus high-level turbulence, which could result in local cavitation phenomena; which is a common and more pronounced problem with water rather than oil as the operating fluid. The rectangular orifice provides a linear relationship between spool angular displacement and flow. This rotary geometry shows also advantages in terms of practical manufacturability.
The invention relates to tactile sensor devices, in particular sensor devices using polymers as piezoelectric transducers of force/pressure; the transducers are directly coupled to a transistor device for a local signal conditioning. The invention allows obtaining a device touch sensor having a linear response over a large range of dynamic forces acting on it. As an alternative to the higher concentration and detection sensitivity, for a given size and separation of sensor devices, the configuration allows to save space and to integrate accessory devices.
This rotary actuator embeds a flexible transmission system which allows the actuator to be safe (towards human and environment) and robust during interaction. The key features of this actuator are its high power density, and small size which allows the integration of this actuation approach within small scale systems.
The Advanced Robotics department is involved in an interdisciplinary and interdepartmental activity, oriented to human rehabilitation. With this perspective, researchers of the Italian Institute of Technology have developed this Ankle Rehabilitation Platform, a medical device able to accelerate and significantly improve the functional recovery of patients with ankle impairments. The simplicity and compactness of the device together with its redundant characteristic, which allows simultaneous control of position and stiffness, improves the quality of and increase the productivity of ankle physiotherapy delivered by the clinicians. The actuator, core of this rehabilitation device, presents unmatched technical features: • High speed and force output • Backdrivability • Very high power to size ratio • Good power to weight ratio • Long stroke and high position resolution • The actuator is equipped with full state sensing, namely an encoder for position and velocity measurements and an axial load cell mounted on the tip of the moving piston. This allows to control the actuator in either position/velocity or force
A fast, semi-automatic process for the manufacture of modular units of dielectric elastomer actuators (DEA), each of them consisting of many layers of rolled thin dielectric film, is disclosed. The fabrication process of the actuator is divided into two different steps. The first one is the fabrication of the multilayer stack using the semi-automatic machine, while the second step is the fabrication of the lateral contacts and the packaging of the stack into the final actuator. All the manufactured units are independent and take their power from a lateral, compliant supply rail that contacts the sides the electroded layers. This design is very suitable for industrial production: each module can be independently tested and then assembled in a complete macroscopic actuator composed by an unlimited number of these modules. The simple assembly methodology and the semi-automatic manufacture process allow the fabrication of multilayer stacked devices, that can be used both as contractile or expanding actuators.
The Robotics, Brain and Cognitive Sciences research group, in the scope of the iCub project has developed a soft, flexible, sensitive and high spatial resolution tactile sensor, suitable as a “sensitive skin” for humanoid robots or, for instance, in automotive, entertainment, sportswear and nautical applications. The solution is based on arrays of small size, high dynamic range capacitive sensors, fabricated on a flexible substrate and connected through an innovative serial topology to a signal acquisition chip integrated in the same substrate.
The invention provides the active control of fluids in fluidic micro and nanostructures onto chip by using the surface acoustic streaming flow mechanism. The invention controls the fluid motion in micro and nanochannels by surface acoustic waves (SAWs) propagating in opposite direction to the desired direction we want the fluid move. The surface acoustic waves are generated by interdigital transducer electrodes on piezoelectric structure; the invention differs from already existing SAW microfluidic disposables and is able pump very efficiently the fluid; moreover, the obtainment of microfluidic systems with integrated micropumps devices and microvalve devices, with a variety of possibilities in terms of assembly and integration, is easily obtainable. The invention allows performing multiple analyses, both chemical and optical ones, in very short time and using very small quantities of analytes and chemicals; typical volumes used in these types of disposables are ranging between picoliters and nanoliters.
This invention concerns a comprehensive, integrated system for the rehabilitation of sensory or motor dysfunction at the wrist due to neurological or orthopedic disease. Integration refers first of all to the system’s ability to perform assessment of proprioceptive status and to a wrist proprioceptive training in a single device. It comprises a hardware device (from here on referred to as wristbot) to allow for controlled movements of the wrist the active or set of specialized software modules that allow for the objective assessment of sensory dysfunction in patients, and provide specialized training modules designed to improve motor function of the wrist. This technology can be used in rehabilitation clinical settings. It can also be utilized in research settings. The integrated system would mean that only one device is needed, and if it can be networked a therapist could provide periodic assessments while the patient is at home (fewer visits to the clinic would be needed). Expanding to other joints is another option, along with separating the software from the hardware (produce assessment and training software that is compatible with other devices on the market).
The invention consist in an actuator applied to a soft wearable exosuit for the upper body. The scope of the entire device is to act like an external muscular system able to empower targeted upper limb joints. It comprises two main components: the actuation elements with an electromechanical clutch applied on a soft wearable frame by tendons and springs
The present invention provides a method to produce controllable sizes of protein nanoparticles (NPs), including gadolinium, in a sub-100 nm size range. The method uses a desolvation process by which bovin serum albumin (BSA) molecules self-assembly into NPs, during the addition of desolvation agents (i.e., ethanol or acetone). The method includes preparing of an aqueous solution, which contains amounts of protein molecules in a precise ratio with gadolinium molecules. After the desolvation and cross-linking processes, hybrid NPs containing both BSA and Gd3+ ions are formed in a controlled size range of 35-200 nm. The NPs are made to entrap magnetic resonance contrast agents (e.g., gadolinium chloride, GdCl3 or Gd-DTPA) and can be used as novel drug formulation for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Moreover, the formulation can be applied for enhancing the MRI signal of tumours in mammals.
The invention relates to a system for the detection of metal ion which is based on gold nanoparticles (AuNP) functionalized with nucleic acid aptamers. The system combines a biological sensor element (nucleic acid aptamers) with an inorganic signal transduction element (nanoclusters of spherical gold nanoparticles), to generate a very sensitive and low-cost sensor for the instrument-free detection of heavy metal ions (i.e., lead, cadmium, mercury, etc.). The low-cost, time-saving, easy of fabrication, make it an ideal candidate for on-field monitoring applications.
The invention relates to a continuously steerable robotic probe composed of two interlaced continuum robots that advance over a chosen smooth trajectory by a follow-the-leader strategy. Physical track-building is achieved by an alternating method: each continuum robot is alternatively actively stiffened to guide the other, and loosened to be guided on the other.
The invention concerns a roll-to-roll (R2R) process for the preparation of nanofilms of conductive polymers, through their deposition on flexible polymer films (rolls) acting as temporary substrates. The present R2R process has advantageous properties such as continuous, high throughput printing on large rolls, large area patterning/processing, cost-effectiveness, speed of execution and use of industry-ready/mass-scale manufacturing technology. The present nanofilms have several advantageous characteristics, such as strength, flexibility, ability to adhere to different substrates, and high biocompatibility, which make them suitable for numerous different technological applications. In particular they can be applied in the biomedical field, as in the development of sensors and other skin-contact electronic devices and in large area flexible electronics manufacturing.
The invention relates to a plasmon detector that is characterized by a particular architecture allowing a simple all-electrical detection of plasmons in a plasmonic waveguide. The electrical plasmon detector is based on non-linear hydrodynamic equations of plasmon motion that describe transport in the waveguide at room temperature and in a wide range of carrier densities. These non-linearities yield a dc voltage in response to the oscillating field of a propagating plasmon. In particular the waveguide is more efficient if it is made of graphene. The proposed device paves the way for the integration of graphene plasmonic waveguides in electronic circuits.
The invention consists in a flexible sensorised footsole for lower limb orthotic/prosthetic devices or humanoid robots. Its purpose is to exploit its flexibility to replicate a more human-like gait, absorb the shock at the impact during the landing phase or deflect during toe-off, or yet deform accordingly with any interaction with the environment or the wearer in case of a wearable robot. The sole is also sensorised to measure the interaction force.
The invention relates to a rotational speed reducer, the device produces an high speed variation thanks to the usage of a configuration based on satellite cogs and a belt connection system. An actuator acts on a planet carrier which put into rotation the first couple of satellite cogs thanks to their belt mechanical coupling. Subsequently, thanks to the rigid connection between the first couple of satellite cogs and the second one, the motion is transferred, again with belts, from the second couple of satellites to the output sun gear.
The invention relates to an linear fluidic actuator, in particular in the field of the well-known bi-directional artificial muscles. The device is able to contract, extend and also self-stiffen.
The invention consists of a screw rod and a nut, the latter containing a number of rings that make perfect rolling contact with the rod when it is inside the nut. In particular, the nut contains a number of ball bearings, the outer races of which are fixed in the nut housing, while the inner races hold the rings. The bearings are positioned so that their rotation axes are both tilted and offset relative to the central axis of the rod when it is inside the nut. The inner surface of each ring and the profile of the screw thread on the rod are designed so as to achieve theoretically perfect rolling contact along a line fixed in the nut (a different line for each ring). The net effect is that the rod can make a nearly frictionless screwing motion relative to the nut, thereby providing a highly efficient conversion of mechanical power between rotational and translational motion. Furthermore, the device can operate at higher speeds than other similar components, such as ball screws.
A robust and compact actuator device applied in a preferred embodiment to a robotic machine for ankle physiotherapy exercises, rehabilitation in the upright position in monopodalic or bipodalic conditions, spine rehabilitation and core-stability exercises in a sitting position.

Last Updated on Monday, 25 January 2016 09:42


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