Control and performance of upper- and lower extremity SEA-based exoskeletons

Control and performance of upper- and lower extremity SEA-based exoskeletons

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In the last years compliant actuators have become extremely popular in the field of wearable robotics, due to their ability to realize safe human-robot interfaces. One of the most well-known example of a compliant actuator is the series elastic actuator (SEA), consisting of an elastic element (e.g. a spring) in series with a stiff actuator; such actuation architecture is considered to be the simplest design solution to realize compliant, compact, and light-weight actuators for wearable robots; in addition, from the control perspective, SEA architecture allows for simple force or torque control in addition to position control. In this chapter, three wearable robots for upperand lower-limb rehabilitation and assistance, developed at The BioRobotics Institute of Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, are described. The three devices have similar SEA-based actuation units, integrating commercial electromagnetic motors and custom torsional springs, with constant stiffness and linear torque-deformation characteristics. Closed-loop torque control performance show that the systems can be highly transparent when controlled under zero-torque modality, i.e. the interaction with the human is minimal and the actuators do not hinder the user's movement, and bandwidths and output torques are compatible with the human movements to be assisted.

Chapter Contents:

  • Abstract
  • 7.1 Compliant actuators with series elasticity for wearable robots
  • 7.2 NEUROExos elbow module
  • 7.2.1 SEA architecture: mechanics and control
  • 7.2.2 High-level control
  • 7.3 NEUROExos shoulder–elbow module
  • 7.3.1 SEA architecture: mechanics and control
  • 7.3.2 High-level control
  • 7.4 Active pelvis orthosis
  • 7.4.1 SEA architecture: mechanics and control
  • 7.4.2 High-level control
  • 7.5 Performance, strengths, and challenges of SEAs in wearable robotics
  • References

Inspec keywords: patient rehabilitation; actuators; elasticity; human-robot interaction; wearable robots; torsion; torque control; medical robotics; position control; springs (mechanical); closed loop systems

Other keywords: lower-limb rehabilitation; elastic element; SEA architecture; electromagnetic motors; torsional springs; light-weight actuators; compliant actuator; upper extremity sea-based exoskeletons; series elastic actuator; stiff actuator; closed-loop torque control performance; linear torque-deformation characteristics; Scuola Superiore SantAnna; zero-torque modality; actuation architecture; lower extremity sea-based exoskeletons; human-robot interfaces; wearable robotics; constant stiffness

Subjects: Prosthetic and orthotic control systems; Mechanical components; Mechanical variables control; Robot and manipulator mechanics; Elasticity (mechanical engineering); Robotics

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