Skip to main content

ASU Electronic Theses and Dissertations


This collection includes most of the ASU Theses and Dissertations from 2011 to present. ASU Theses and Dissertations are available in downloadable PDF format; however, a small percentage of items are under embargo. Information about the dissertations/theses includes degree information, committee members, an abstract, supporting data or media.

In addition to the electronic theses found in the ASU Digital Repository, ASU Theses and Dissertations can be found in the ASU Library Catalog.

Dissertations and Theses granted by Arizona State University are archived and made available through a joint effort of the ASU Graduate College and the ASU Libraries. For more information or questions about this collection contact or visit the Digital Repository ETD Library Guide or contact the ASU Graduate College at gradformat@asu.edu.


Contributor
Date Range
2011 2019


The development of advanced, anthropomorphic artificial hands aims to provide upper extremity amputees with improved functionality for activities of daily living. However, many state-of-the-art hands have a large number of degrees of freedom that can be challenging to control in an intuitive manner. Automated grip responses could be built into artificial hands in order to enhance grasp stability and reduce the cognitive burden on the user. To this end, three studies were conducted to understand how human hands respond, passively and actively, to unexpected perturbations of a grasped object along and about different axes relative to the hand. The first …

Contributors
De Gregorio, Michael, Santos, Veronica J., Artemiadis, Panagiotis K., et al.
Created Date
2013

In the last 15 years, there has been a significant increase in the number of motor neural prostheses used for restoring limb function lost due to neurological disorders or accidents. The aim of this technology is to enable patients to control a motor prosthesis using their residual neural pathways (central or peripheral). Recent studies in non-human primates and humans have shown the possibility of controlling a prosthesis for accomplishing varied tasks such as self-feeding, typing, reaching, grasping, and performing fine dexterous movements. A neural decoding system comprises mainly of three components: (i) sensors to record neural signals, (ii) an algorithm …

Contributors
Padmanaban, Subash, Greger, Bradley, Santello, Marco, et al.
Created Date
2017

Locomotion is of prime importance in enabling human beings to effectively respond in space and time to meet different needs. Approximately 2 million Americans live with an amputation with most of those amputations being of the lower limbs. To advance current state-of-the-art lower limb prosthetic devices, it is necessary to adapt performance at a level of intelligence seen in human walking. As such, this thesis focuses on the mechanisms involved during human walking, while transitioning from rigid to compliant surfaces such as from pavement to sand, grass or granular media. Utilizing a unique tool, the Variable Stiffness Treadmill (VST), as …

Contributors
Obeng, Ruby Afriyie, Artemiadis, Panagiotis, Santello, Marco, et al.
Created Date
2019

Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) is a debilitating chronic disease of the lower extremities particularly affecting older adults and diabetics. It results in reduction of the blood flow to peripheral tissue and sometimes causing tissue damage such that PVD patients suffer from pain in the lower legs, thigh and buttocks after activities. Electrical neurostimulation based on the "Gate Theory of Pain" is a known to way to reduce pain but current devices to do this are bulky and not well suited to implantation in peripheral tissues. There is also an increased risk associated with surgery which limits the use of these …

Contributors
Zong, Xi, Towe, Bruce, Kleim, Jeffrey, et al.
Created Date
2014

Object manipulation is a common sensorimotor task that humans perform to interact with the physical world. The first aim of this dissertation was to characterize and identify the role of feedback and feedforward mechanisms for force control in object manipulation by introducing a new feature based on force trajectories to quantify the interaction between feedback- and feedforward control. This feature was applied on two grasp contexts: grasping the object at either (1) predetermined or (2) self-selected grasp locations (“constrained” and “unconstrained”, respectively), where unconstrained grasping is thought to involve feedback-driven force corrections to a greater extent than constrained grasping. This …

Contributors
Mojtahedi, Keivan, Santello, Marco, Greger, Bradley, et al.
Created Date
2017

Humans moving in the environment must frequently change walking speed and direction to negotiate obstacles and maintain balance. Maneuverability and stability requirements account for a significant part of daily life. While constant-average-velocity (CAV) human locomotion in walking and running has been studied extensively unsteady locomotion has received far less attention. Although some studies have described the biomechanics and neurophysiology of maneuvers, the underlying mechanisms that humans employ to control unsteady running are still not clear. My dissertation research investigated some of the biomechanical and behavioral strategies used for stable unsteady locomotion. First, I studied the behavioral level control of human …

Contributors
Qiao, Mu, Jindrich, Devin L, Dounskaia, Natalia, et al.
Created Date
2012

In recent years, machine learning and data mining technologies have received growing attention in several areas such as recommendation systems, natural language processing, speech and handwriting recognition, image processing and biomedical domain. Many of these applications which deal with physiological and biomedical data require person specific or person adaptive systems. The greatest challenge in developing such systems is the subject-dependent data variations or subject-based variability in physiological and biomedical data, which leads to difference in data distributions making the task of modeling these data, using traditional machine learning algorithms, complex and challenging. As a result, despite the wide application of …

Contributors
Chattopadhyay, Rita, Panchanathan, Sethuraman, Ye, Jieping, et al.
Created Date
2013

Anticipatory planning of digit positions and forces is critical for successful dexterous object manipulation. Anticipatory (feedforward) planning bypasses the inherent delays in reflex responses and sensorimotor integration associated with reactive (feedback) control. It has been suggested that feedforward and feedback strategies can be distinguished based on the profile of grip and load force rates during the period between initial contact with the object and object lift. However, this has not been validated in tasks that do not constrain digit placement. The purposes of this thesis were (1) to validate the hypothesis that force rate profiles are indicative of the control …

Contributors
Cooperhouse, Michael Aaron, Santello, Marco, Helms Tillery, Stephen, et al.
Created Date
2011

Robust and stable decoding of neural signals is imperative for implementing a useful neuroprosthesis capable of carrying out dexterous tasks. A nonhuman primate (NHP) was trained to perform combined flexions of the thumb, index and middle fingers in addition to individual flexions and extensions of the same digits. An array of microelectrodes was implanted in the hand area of the motor cortex of the NHP and used to record action potentials during finger movements. A Support Vector Machine (SVM) was used to classify which finger movement the NHP was making based upon action potential firing rates. The effect of four …

Contributors
Padmanaban, Subash, Greger, Bradley, Santello, Marco, et al.
Created Date
2015

The human hand is a complex biological system. Humans have evolved a unique ability to use the hand for a wide range of tasks, including activities of daily living such as successfully grasping and manipulating objects, i.e., lifting a cup of coffee without spilling. Despite the ubiquitous nature of hand use in everyday activities involving object manipulations, there is currently an incomplete understanding of the cortical sensorimotor mechanisms underlying this important behavior. One critical aspect of natural object grasping is the coordination of where the fingers make contact with an object and how much force is applied following contact. Such …

Contributors
McGurrin, Patrick M., Santello, Marco, Helms-Tillery, Steve, et al.
Created Date
2017

Wearable assistive devices have been greatly improved thanks to advancements made in soft robotics, even creation soft extra arms for paralyzed patients. Grasping remains an active area of research of soft extra limbs. Soft robotics allow the creation of grippers that due to their inherit compliance making them lightweight, safer for human interactions, more robust in unknown environments and simpler to control than their rigid counterparts. A current problem in soft robotics is the lack of seamless integration of soft grippers into wearable devices, which is in part due to the use of elastomeric materials used for the creation of …

Contributors
Lopez Arellano, Francisco, Santello, Marco, Zhang, Wenlong, et al.
Created Date
2019

Neurostimulation methods currently include deep brain stimulation (DBS), optogenetic, transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS), and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). TMS and tDCS are noninvasive techniques whereas DBS and optogenetic require surgical implantation of electrodes or light emitting devices. All approaches, except for optogenetic, have been implemented in clinical settings because they have demonstrated therapeutic utility and clinical efficacy for neurological and psychiatric disorders. When applied for therapeutic applications, these techniques suffer from limitations that hinder the progression of its intended use to treat compromised brain function. DBS requires an invasive surgical procedure that surfaces complications from infection, longevity of electrical components, …

Contributors
Tufail, Yusuf, Tyler, William J, Duch, Carsten, et al.
Created Date
2011

Humans' ability to perform fine object and tool manipulation is a defining feature of their sensorimotor repertoire. How the central nervous system builds and maintains internal representations of such skilled hand-object interactions has attracted significant attention over the past three decades. Nevertheless, two major gaps exist: a) how digit positions and forces are coordinated during natural manipulation tasks, and b) what mechanisms underlie the formation and retention of internal representations of dexterous manipulation. This dissertation addresses these two questions through five experiments that are based on novel grip devices and experimental protocols. It was found that high-level representation of manipulation …

Contributors
Fu, Qiushi, Santello, Marco, Helms Tillery, Stephen, et al.
Created Date
2013

Reaching movements are subject to noise in both the planning and execution phases of movement production. Although the effects of these noise sources in estimating and/or controlling endpoint position have been examined in many studies, the independent effects of limb configuration on endpoint variability have been largely ignored. The present study investigated the effects of arm configuration on the interaction between planning noise and execution noise. Subjects performed reaching movements to three targets located in a frontal plane. At the starting position, subjects matched one of two desired arm configuration 'templates' namely "adducted" and "abducted". These arm configurations were obtained …

Contributors
Lakshminarayanan, Kishor, Buneo, Christopher, Santello, Marco, et al.
Created Date
2013

Properly deciding to engage in or to withhold an action is a critical ability for goal-oriented movement control. Such decision may be driven by expected value from the choice of action but associating physical effort may discount such value. A novel anticipatory stopping task was developed to investigate effort discounted decision process potentially present in proactive inhibitory control. Subjects performed or abstained from target reach if they believed it was a Go or Stop trial respectively. Reward was awarded to a reach, correctly timed to hit a target at the same time as the moving bar in Go trials. During …

Contributors
Tsuchiya, Toshiki, Santello, Marco, Fine, Justin, et al.
Created Date
2018

Animals learn to choose a proper action among alternatives according to the circumstance. Through trial-and-error, animals improve their odds by making correct association between their behavioral choices and external stimuli. While there has been an extensive literature on the theory of learning, it is still unclear how individual neurons and a neural network adapt as learning progresses. In this dissertation, single units in the medial and lateral agranular (AGm and AGl) cortices were recorded as rats learned a directional choice task. The task required the rat to make a left/right side lever press if a light cue appeared on the …

Contributors
Mao, Hongwei, Si, Jennie, Buneo, Christopher, et al.
Created Date
2014

Prosthetic users abandon devices due to difficulties performing tasks without proper graded or interpretable feedback. The inability to adequately detect and correct error of the device leads to failure and frustration. In advanced prostheses, peripheral nerve stimulation can be used to deliver sensations, but standard schemes used in sensorized prosthetic systems induce percepts inconsistent with natural sensations, providing limited benefit. Recent uses of time varying stimulation strategies appear to produce more practical sensations, but without a clear path to pursue improvements. This dissertation examines the use of physiologically based stimulation strategies to elicit sensations that are more readily interpretable. A …

Contributors
Tanner, Justin Cody, Helms Tillery, Stephen I, Santos, Veronica J, et al.
Created Date
2017

Humans constantly rely on a complex interaction of a variety of sensory modalities in order to complete even the simplest of daily tasks. For reaching and grasping to interact with objects, the visual, tactile, and proprioceptive senses provide the majority of the information used. While vision is often relied on for many tasks, most people are able to accomplish common daily rituals without constant visual attention, instead relying mainly on tactile and proprioceptive cues. However, amputees using prosthetic arms do not have access to these cues, making tasks impossible without vision. Even tasks with vision can be incredibly difficult as …

Contributors
Olson, Markey, Helms-Tillery, Stephen, Buneo, Christopher, et al.
Created Date
2016

As robotic systems are used in increasingly diverse applications, the interaction of humans and robots has become an important area of research. In many of the applications of physical human robot interaction (pHRI), the robot and the human can be seen as cooperating to complete a task with some object of interest. Often these applications are in unstructured environments where many paths can accomplish the goal. This creates a need for the ability to communicate a preferred direction of motion between both participants in order to move in coordinated way. This communication method should be bidirectional to be able to …

Contributors
Whitsell, Bryan, Artemiadis, Panagiotis, Santello, Marco, et al.
Created Date
2014

The interaction between humans and robots has become an important area of research as the diversity of robotic applications has grown. The cooperation of a human and robot to achieve a goal is an important area within the physical human-robot interaction (pHRI) field. The expansion of this field is toward moving robotics into applications in unstructured environments. When humans cooperate with each other, often there are leader and follower roles. These roles may change during the task. This creates a need for the robotic system to be able to exchange roles with the human during a cooperative task. The unstructured …

Contributors
Whitsell, Bryan Douglas, Artemiadis, Panagiotis, Santello, Marco, et al.
Created Date
2017