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.

Kinematic Modeling and Open-Loop Control of a Twisted String Actuator-Driven Soft Robotic Manipulator


Realizing high-performance soft robots is challenging because many existing soft or compliant actuators exhibit limitations like fabrication complexity, high power requirement, slow actuation, and low force generation. Due to their high-force output and power efficiency, compactness, and simplicity in fabrication, twisted string actuators (TSAs) have exhibited strong potential in mechatronic and robotic applications. However, they have had limited uses in soft robotics. Consequently, modeling and control of TSA-driven soft robots have not been sufficiently studied. This article presents the first study on the modeling and control of a TSA-driven soft robotic manipulator. A physics-based model was developed to predict the manipulator’s kinematic motion. An inverse model was derived to realize open-loop control. Models that describe the behavior of TSAs were utilized in a novel way to develop the proposed kinematic and inverse models of the soft robot. The proposed modeling and control approaches were experimentally verified to be effective. For example, the modeling and control errors of the bending angle were 1.60 deg (3.11%) and 2.11 deg (3.68%), respectively.

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