/A clutched parallel elastic actuator concept: towards energy efficient powered legs in prosthetics and robotics

A clutched parallel elastic actuator concept: towards energy efficient powered legs in prosthetics and robotics

Daniel Häufle, Michael Taylor, Syn Schmitt and Hartmut Geyer
Conference Paper, IEEE International Conference on Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics, pp. 1614 - 1619, June, 2012

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Abstract

Parallel passive-elastic elements can reduce the energy consumption and torque requirements for motors in powered legged systems. However, the hardware design for such combined actuators is challenged by the need to engage and disengage the parallel elasticity depending on the gait phase. Although clutches in the drive train are often proposed, compact and low cost solutions of clutched parallel elastic actuators have so far not been established. Here we present the design and control of an initial prototype for a parallel elastic actuator. The actuator combines a DC motor with a parallel spring that is engaged and disengaged by a commercially available, compact and low-cost electric clutch. In experiments that mimic the torque and motion patterns of knee extensor muscles in human rebounding tasks we find that the parallel spring in the prototype reduces the energy consumption of the actuator by about 80% and the peak torque requirement for the DC motor by about 66%. In addition, we find that a simple trigger-based control can reliably engage and disengage the electric clutch during the motion, allowing the spring to support the motor in rebound, to remove stored energy from the system as necessary for stopping, and to virtually disappear at the actuator output level. On the other hand, the hardware experiments also reveal that our initial design limits the precision in the torque control, and we propose specific improvements to overcome these limitations.

BibTeX Reference
@conference{-2012-102734,
author = {Daniel Häufle and Michael Taylor and Syn Schmitt and Hartmut Geyer},
title = {A clutched parallel elastic actuator concept: towards energy efficient powered legs in prosthetics and robotics},
booktitle = {IEEE International Conference on Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics},
year = {2012},
month = {June},
pages = {1614 - 1619},
publisher = {IEEE},
}
2017-11-20T10:58:41+00:00