High-efficiency Linear Synchronous Motors
Linear synchronous motors are flexible, powerful, and efficient actuators that have seen little use to date in biomedical applications. As shown here, they are composed of periodic arrays of magnets and coils, which means that their design can easily be scaled to the needs of the application. A compact, water-cooled motor designed for robotic locomotion is also shown. We are working to apply these actuators to drug delivery and rehabilitation robotics, developing motor designs optimized to each task along with compact, self-contained motor controllers. For example, we show a preliminary design for a lower-limb exoskeleton powered by a set of linear synchronous motors. Our goal is to create plug-and-play actuator systems for these new applications, and to examine the performance of these systems, as well as the overall medical device performance enabled by the new motors.
To date, we have created a novel hybrid analytical and numerical optimization scheme for one class of linear synchronous motor, with a particular eye to use in needle-free injector systems. This has led to a proposed injector design. We have also discovered universal rules for the use of linear synchronous motors to power rotary joints, like those seen in powered exoskeletons and orthoses, and used them to develop the design for a shoulder exoskeleton.