This paper attempts to address the quandary of flexible-joint humanoid balancing performance augmentation, via the introduction of the Full-State Feedback Variable Impedance Control (FSFVIC), and Model-Free Compliant Floating-base VIC (MCFVIC) schemes. In comparison to rigid-joint humanoid robots, efficient balancing control of compliant bipeds, powered by Series Elastic Actuators (or harmonic drives), requires the design of more sophisticated controllers encapsulating both the motor and underactuated link dynamics. It has been demonstrated that Variable Impedance Control (VIC) can improve robotic interaction performance, albeit by introducing energy-injecting elements that may jeopardize closed-loop stability. To this end, the novel FSFVIC and MCFVIC schemes are proposed, which amalgamate both collocated and non-collocated feedback gains, with power-shaping signals that are capable of preserving the system’s stability/passivity during VIC. The FSFVIC and MCFVIC stably modulate the system’s collocated state gains to augment balancing performance, in addition to the non-collocated state gains that dictate the position control accuracy. Utilization of arbitrarily low-impedance gains is permitted by both the FSFVIC and MCFVIC schemes propounded herein. An array of experiments involving the COmpliant huMANoid reveals that significant balancing performance amelioration is achievable through online modulation of the full-state feedback gains (VIC), as compared to utilization of invariant impedance control.
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Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics Open Issues