Developing Hardware and Software for Perturberator Robot – UROP Symposium

Developing Hardware and Software for Perturberator Robot

Martin Page

Research Mentor(s): Chandramouli Krishnan
Program: Engin
Authors: Martin Page, Luis Cubillos, PhD Candidate, Chandramouli Krishnan, PhD


As healthcare technology continues to integrate with various aspects of patient care, there is a growing potential to leverage technical components in supporting health and healing, including ankle recovery. Inspired by recent advancements in technical control systems, the NeuRRo Lab at the University of Michigan has developed a perturberator robot to aid ankle rehabilitation. This robot applies controlled random movements to the subject’s ankles while utilizing a force plate to measure pressure changes during the movements.

However, the current microcontroller used in the perturberator robot lacks user-friendliness, as the code has to be updated various times during testing. This hinders its effectiveness and usability. On the hardware side, the current setup of the microcontroller is rather complicated, as there are various amounts of different cables. This can be confusing for first-time users. This research project aimed to replace the existing microcontroller and enhance the overall quality of the robot system. We conducted an extensive investigation into different microcontrollers, developed a graphical user interface (GUI) using Python, and innovated the electronic setup to simplify comprehension.

Our findings showcase the development of a more user-friendly microcontroller solution, allowing researchers to modify the robot’s settings effortlessly. Additionally, we introduced a novel GUI that enhances the interface’s intuitiveness and usability. These improvements contribute to enhancing the overall quality of the perturberator robot system, providing researchers with a more efficient tool for ankle recovery research.

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