Design of a New MR-Compatible Haptic Interface with Six Actuated Degrees of Freedom
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Functional magnetic resonance imaging is an often adopted tool to study human motor control mechanisms. Highly controlled experiments as required by this form of analysis can be realized with haptic interfaces. Their design is challenging because of strong safety and MR compatibility requirements. Existing MR-compatible haptic interfaces are restricted to maximum three actuated degrees of freedom. We propose an MR-compatible haptic interface with six actuated degrees of freedom to be able to study human brain mechanisms of natural pick-and-place movements including arm transport. In this work, we present its mechanical design, kinematic and dynamic model, as well as report on its model-based characterization. A novel hybrid control scheme for the employed ultrasonic motors is introduced. Preliminary MR compatibility tests based on one complete actuator-sensor module are performed. No measurable noise is found and thus, bidirectional compatibility of the six DoF interface can be expected.