Quantitative Assessment of Compressive Force Incurred by the Palm of Hydraulic Actuated Joystick Operators
Heavey machinery has traditionally required operators to work long hours doing repetive and forceful work that can casue repetitive strain injuries (RSI). The operation of equipment joysticks requires almost constant upper limb activation which may result in a prevalent RSI known as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). CTS oeccurs as a result of swelling and pinching of the median nerve which passes through a small opening in the wrist. Reduction of this space and swelling of the tendons in the hand are caused by high repetition and force of the muscle load as well as large impact forces on the palm of the hand.
A hydraulic actuated joystick developed by Dr. Michele Oliver allows for the prediction of instantaneous external torque incurred by an operator due to joystick manipulation. The purpose of my research is to:
1. Assess force at hard endpoint and include it in a current hydraulic actuated dynamic model
2. Develop an understanding of the muscle loading which occurs throughout joystick movement range
My research aims to:
1. Acquire dynamic inputs (i.e. angular displacement, angular velocity and angular acceleration)
2. Develop a method to measure the force at hard endpoint and relate it to dynamic model
3. Collect EMG (electromyography) data during testing to compare it with the kinematics and dynamic model outputs
Further illustration of this project may be found here.