Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

M. Eng.


Mechanical Engineering

Degree Program

JB Speed School of Engineering

Committee Chair

Quesada, Peter M.

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Hnat, William P.

Committee Member

Lilly, John H.

Author's Keywords

Orthotic device; Joint management


Orthopedic apparatus


Existing treatment programs and procedures are incapable of addressing the complications encountered with patients who experience spasticity and hypertonia related joint contractures. Current passive therapy procedures and devices are only capable of managing the extent of joint contractures on patients with chronic and acute onset severe neurological disorders. The project was conceived as a means to develop an active device that is capable of adapting to the state of the joint to mange the extent of contractures and to permit consideration for the prevalence of spastic activity episodes and hypertonia. The project focused on the design of the physical prototype and the controller software in order to regulate the operation of such a device. Additionally, the signal conditioning and sensor package was developed as determined to be appropriate for the requirements of the device. The operation of the device was verified in the bench-top environment in the laboratory and on human subjects in order to qualify, verify, and tune the position tracking capability of the device, spastic activity detection and rejection capability of the device, and the operation of patient controlled devices. The overall operation of the device was evaluated on a group of human subjects. Using simulated contractures and spastic activity episodes, the validity of the preliminary deterministic test data was confirmed as was the appropriate operation of the device. The end prototype devices are capable of responding to a spastic activity episode by maintaining a constant load in addition to mimicking the passive extension behavior of conventional commercial devices.