Latest Papers

ASME Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics

  • Mechanical Characterization of Supernumerary Robotic Tails for Human Balance Augmentation
    on August 31, 2023 at 12:00 am

    AbstractHumans are intrinsically unstable in quiet stance from a rigid body system viewpoint; however, they maintain balance, thanks to neuro-muscular sensory control properties. With increasing levels of balance related incidents in industrial and ageing populations globally each year, the development of assistive mechanisms to augment human balance is paramount. This work investigates the mechanical characteristics of kinematically dissimilar one and two degrees-of-freedom (DoF) supernumerary robotic tails for balance augmentation. Through dynamic simulations and manipulability assessments, the importance of variable coupling inertia in creating a sufficient reaction torque is highlighted. It is shown that two-DoF tails with solely revolute joints are best suited to address the balance augmentation issue. Within the two-DoF options, the characteristics of open versus closed loop tails are investigated, with the ultimate design selection requiring trade-offs between environmental workspace, biomechanical factors, and manufacturing ease to be made.

Design of an Accurate and Stiff Wooden Industrial Robot: First Steps Toward Robot Eco-sustainable Mechanical Design


This article investigates the feasibility of replacing metal robot links by wooden bodies for eco-sustainable design’s purpose. Wood is a material with low environmental impact and a good mass-to-stiffness ratio. However, it has significant dimensional and mechanical variabilities. This is an issue for industrial robots that must be accurate and stiff. To guarantee stiffness and accuracy performance of a wooden robot, we propose an integrated design process combining (i) proper wood selection, (ii) adequate sensor-based control strategies to ensure robot accuracy, and (iii) a robust design approach dealing with wood uncertainties. Based on the use of this integrated design process, a prototype of a wooden five-bar mechanism is designed and manufactured. Experimental results show that it is realistic to design a wooden robot with performance compatible with industry requirements in terms of stiffness (deformations lower than 400 μm for 20 N loads) and accuracy (repeatability lower than 60 μm), guaranteed in a workspace of 800 mm × 200 mm. This study provides a first step toward the eco-sustainable mechanical design of robots.
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