Elastic Actuator Design Based on Bending of Cylindrical Beam for Robotic Applications
MetadataShow full item record
The lack of suitable actuators has hampered the development of high-performance machines or robots that can compete with living organisms in terms of motion, safety, and energy efficiency. The adaptation properties of biological systems to environmental variables—for example, the control performance of biological muscle with variable stiffness properties—exceeds the performance of mechanical devices. The variable stiffness characteristics of elastic actuators are different from the operating principle of conventional solids. Although there has been a lot of work on the design of elastic actuators in recent years, a low-cost and compact elastic actuator that can be used in place of standard rigid servo actuators is not yet available. In this study, a standard servo motor has been transformed into an elastic actuator by an elastic coupling attached to the gear system. The elastic coupling consists of four small steel beams with a cylindrical cross section placed on the circular disk, and the stiffness of the actuator is adjusted by varying the clutch length of the cylindrical beams. In this study, this innovative design is explained, then the equations expressing the variation of the torsional stiffness of the cylindrical beams with the coupling length and solutions of these equations are given. The experimental results are presented to show the ability of the proposed actuator to control position and regulate the stiffness independently.