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.

Comparison of Under-Actuated and Fully Actuated Serial Robotic Arms: A Case Study


Under-actuated robots are very interesting in terms of cost and weight since they can result in a state-controllable system with a number of actuators lower than the number of joints. In this paper, a comparison between an under-actuated planar three-degrees-of-freedom (DOF) robot and a comparable fully actuated two-degrees-of-freedom robot is presented, mainly focusing on the performances in terms of trajectories, actuator torques, and vibrations. The under-actuated system is composed of two active rotational joints followed by a passive rotational joint equipped with a torsional spring. The fully actuated robot is inertial equivalent to the under-actuated manipulator: the last link is equal to the sum of the last two links of the under-actuated system. Due to the conditions on the inertia distribution and spring placement, in a simple point-to-point movement the last passive joint starts and ends in a zero-value configuration, so the three DOF robot is equivalent, in terms of initial and final configuration, to the two DOF fully actuated robot, thus they can be compared. Results show how while the fully actuated robot is better in terms of reliable trajectory and actuator torques, the under-actuated robot wins in flexibility and in vibrations at a given configuration.

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