Abstract

Several types of interfaces like foam and inflated air cells exist to reduce the effect of mechanical vibration experienced in human-machine interfaces in different scenarios such as transportation. However, their vibration attenuation performance in a wide frequency range relevant to whole body vibration (1–80 Hz) leaves much to be desired. In this study, we investigate the effect of inflation pressure on the vibration attenuation behavior of an air cell cushion. An experimental setup capable of conducting frequency sweep tests and regulating inflation pressure in an air cell array cushion was developed. Frequency sweep tests were conducted at various inflations and the vibration transmissibilities at static inflations were plotted. A dynamic inflation scheme was developed based on the apriori knowledge of inflation dependent transmissibilities. Furthermore, the closed loop behavior of the inflation scheme was evaluated with a frequency sweep test. The resulting closed loop transmissibility indicated better vibration attenuation performance than any single static inflation for the air cell array cushion in the range of frequencies relevant to whole body vibration. This result lays the groundwork for potential air cell cushions which modify their inflation dynamically through a direct feedback from sensors like accelerometers to attenuate vibration in a wide frequency range.

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