Design and fabrication of a passive, automatically controlled arresting system for study of falls
Malone, Curtis Wade
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Despite the large personal and economic losses associated with the effects of falling and slipping, the etiology of Falling and Slipping Behavior (FSB) is unknown. A major inhibition of past research has been due to the lack of a facility to experimentally investigate such behavior without exposing human subjects to the natural danger of injury resulting from a fall. To carry out this research, a facility is being created specifically to investigate FSB. One component of this facility, a fall arresting system, will be used to experimentally research the basic mechanisms involved in falls. Specifically, this component must be designed to provide passive, reactive, support of a person, so that a reduced friction walk surface and/or an induced fall of a person may be implemented. This fall arresting system is composed of two sections. The first section is made of mechanical components necessary to arrest an imbalance. The mechanical components are combined to create an overhead suspension which can be made to track a predetermined path in anticipation of arresting an induced fall. The second section is an automatic control system that provides passive tracking of the test subject's movement along the path. The control system includes sensors to determine positions of the person and mechanical structure relative to each other and a programmable controller to interpret the positions and update them as required. Also included are motors that will move an overhead beam and a damping mechanism through a desired maneuver. This thesis will describe the development of the overall system and how the components are combined to create a fall arresting system.