Development of a Low-Cost Robotic Manipulator and Its Application to Human Motor Control Studies

C. MacDonald, S. Balakrishnan, and Z. Moussavi (Canada)


Robotics, Manipulator, Motor Learning, Biomedical Engineering


This paper discusses the development of a two degree-of freedom impedance controlled manipulator to study human motor learning. In particular, the focus was to develop a low-cost alternative to the traditionally expensive manipulator systems. The design and verification of the mechanical and control components of the manipulator were completed with the aim of applying the system to specific experimental situations. The experimental work consisted of studying motor adaptation during upper limb reaching movements in the presence of viscous force fields. Specifically, the presence of an internal model for adaptation was verified by studying the after-effects of adaptation. The correlation of these results with those reported previously showed that the low-cost alternative was able to reproduce some of the experimental results seen with more expensive systems.

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