Latest Papers

ASME Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics

  • Stable Inverse Dynamics for Feedforward Control of Nonminimum-Phase Underactuated Systems
    on January 25, 2023 at 12:00 am

    AbstractAn enhanced inverse dynamics approach is here presented for feedforward control of underactuated multibody systems, such as mechanisms or robots where the number of independent actuators is smaller than the number of degrees of freedom. The method exploits the concept of partitioning the independent coordinates into actuated and unactuated ones (through a QR-decomposition) and of linearly combined output, to obtain the internal dynamics of the nonminimum-phase system and then to stabilize it through proper output redefinition. Then, the exact algebraic model of the actuated sub-system is inverted, leading to the desired control forces with just minor approximations and no need for pre-actuation. The effectiveness of the proposed approach is assessed by three numerical test cases, by comparing it with some meaningful benchmarks taken from the literature. Finally, experimental verification through an underactuated robotic arm with two degrees of freedom is performed.

Experimentally Identified Models of McKibben Soft Actuators as Primary Movers and Passive Structures


Soft robots join body and actuation, forming their structure from the same elements that induce motion. Soft actuators are commonly modeled or characterized as primary movers, but their second role as support structure introduces strain–pressure combinations outside of normal actuation. This article examines a more complete set of possible strain–pressure combinations for McKibben actuators, including passive or unpressurized, deformation, pressurized extension and compression of a pressurized actuator beyond the maximum actuation strain. Each region is investigated experimentally, and empirical force–displacement–pressure relationships are identified. Particular focus is placed on ensuring that empirical relationships are consistent at boundaries between an actuator’s strain–pressure regions. The presented methodology is applied to seven McKibben actuator designs, which span variations in wall thickness, enclosure material, and actuator diameter. Empirical results demonstrate a trade-off between maximum contraction strain and force required to passively extend. The results also show that stiffer elastomers require an extreme increase in pressure to contract without a compensatory increase in maximum achieved force. Empirical force–displacement–pressure models were developed for each variant across all the studied strain–pressure regions, enabling future design variation studies for soft robots that use actuators as structures.
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