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Join Date: Oct 2014
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Pneumatic Energy Sources For Prosthetic Arm.

10/29/2014 1:51 PM

Hi, i new in this forum, i hope can share my knowledge to anyone who needs it.

But now i need some suggestions for the project i currently development. The project consist in a prototype of prosthetic arm driven by pneumatic muscles. For every joint i need one pneumatic muscle, so you might imagine it will be need it a sizeable quantity of these actuators in order to reproduce faithfully some movements of the human arm.

The first problem is the energy, obviously keep the prototype connected to the air compressor, is not a good idea, because i need freely move. I have seen some air reservoirs like this:

http://www.festo.com/net/SupportPortal/Files/137479/AIR-RESERVOIRS_EN.pdf

Which is the best option for this kind of prothotypes? Which is the considerations i must take to choice the best air reservoir ? How can i know that the air reservoir can provide the enough energy for all the system?

My experience in pneumatics is little, so any advice will be really appreciate.

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#1

Re: Pneumatic energy sources for prosthetic arm.

10/29/2014 2:08 PM

It would be helpful to know a little more about what you are trying to do. This would include:

1) Is this expected to be human sized?

2) Is this to be worn by a human that is missing an arm?

3) Is this a school project, a corporate development or something else?

4) Is this to be fully functional and reliable and to be used to help a person? As an alternative, is this part of a Halloween display?

5) What are the environmental specs? Temperature? Vibration? Humidity?

6) What is the weight limit?

7) How long must it run on one charge of air?

8) How much weight must the arm lift? How fast must the arm move?

9) What will control the arm?

10) You don't seem to be asking about the pneumatic muscle. Do you already have one sourced?

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#2

Re: Pneumatic energy sources for prosthetic arm.

10/29/2014 2:09 PM

What has prompted you to select pneumatics?

Politicians, in particular, are full of hot air and would be likely candidate for such a system. Add to this used car salesmen salespeople, religious soapbox expounders...

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#3

Re: Pneumatic energy sources for prosthetic arm.

10/29/2014 3:04 PM

Can you provide more information and some photos. The picture I have in my head so far is some sort of stream-punk arm contraption with a backpack-mounted air cylinder.

More information please (and pictures too)!

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#4

Re: Pneumatic energy sources for prosthetic arm.

10/29/2014 4:22 PM

Check this out.

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: Pneumatic energy sources for prosthetic arm.

10/30/2014 8:08 AM

GA. It also makes the point that you need at least 2 muscles per joint. Indeed, for the shoulder you need at least 6 (forward, backward, outward, inward, rotation inward and rotation outward movements of upper arm)

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#6

Re: Pneumatic Energy Sources For Prosthetic Arm.

10/30/2014 10:42 AM

You made a good start checking the Festo site. They will also be able to assist you, and probably supply what you need. Bear in mind that every 'muscle' you employ needs to exhaust the air once it is used. Exhaust air can be more of a problem than supply air, since you will require the 'muscle' to evacuate its air quickly.

Quite a project you've taken on. Consider simple auxilliary methods like using rubbers/surgical tubing for resistance to movement.

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#7

Re: Pneumatic Energy Sources For Prosthetic Arm.

10/30/2014 12:08 PM

I would NOT choose pneumatic actuators for a mobile system since due to its compliance compressed air needs for same force a lot more energy. My choice would go either to miniature hydraulics or to electro-mechanical actuators in order to have smaller energy reserve carrier.

If you still stay with air then you should consider high pressure bottles, if possible in pre-stressed design to allow the lowest possible own weight. The suggested FESTO muscle is tested and gives very good results.

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#8

Re: Pneumatic Energy Sources For Prosthetic Arm.

10/30/2014 3:11 PM

For a high capacity reservoir you might look at SCBA air tanks. They are available with capacities up to 100 standard cubic feet of air @ 5500 PSI. Obviously, you will need a multi-stage regulator to reduce the pressure to your working level.

You can get more information on line from Scott Safety or consult a local dive shop or your local fire department.

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