Physical human–robot interfaces (pHRIs) enabled the robots to work alongside the human workers complying with the regulations set for physical human–robot interaction systems. A variety of actuation systems named variable stiffness/impedance actuators (VSAs) are configured to be used in these systems’ design. Recently, we introduced a new continuously variable transmission (CVT) mechanism as an alternative solution in configuring VSAs for pHRI. The optimization of this CVT has significant importance to enhance its application area and to detect the limitations of the system. Thus, in this paper, we present a design optimization approach (an adjustment strategy) for this system based on the design goals, desired force, and minimization of the size of the system. To implement such design goals, the static force analysis of the CVT is performed and validated. Furthermore, the fabrication of the optimized prototype is presented, and the experimental verification is performed considering the requirements of VSAs: independent position and stiffness variation, and shock absorbing. Finally, the system is calibrated to display 6 N continuous output force throughout its transmission variation range.
Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics Open Issues