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Machines 2016, 4(1), 5; doi:10.3390/machines4010005

Joint Mechanism That Mimics Elastic Characteristics in Human Running

1
Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Waseda University, No. 41-304, 17 Kikui-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-0044, Japan
2
Waseda Institute for Advanced Study, Waseda University, No. 41-304, 17 Kikui-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-0044, Japan
3
Humanoid Robotics Institute (HRI), Waseda University, 2-2 Wakamatsu-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-8480, Japan
4
Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive NW, Calgary, AB T2N 1N4, Canada
5
Faculty of Sport Sciences, Waseda University, 2-579-15 Mikajima, Tokorozawa-shi, Tokyo 359-1192, Japan
6
Faculty of Engineering, Kanagawa University, 3-27-1 Rokkakubashi, Kanagawa-ku, Yokohama 221-8686, Japan
7
Department of Modern Mechanical Engineering, Waseda University, 2-2 Wakamatsu-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-8480, Japan
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Marco Ceccarelli and Hui Li
Received: 31 July 2015 / Revised: 11 January 2016 / Accepted: 19 January 2016 / Published: 25 January 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanical Designs for Humanoids Robots: Problems and Solutions)
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Abstract

Analysis of human running has revealed that the motion of the human leg can be modeled by a compression spring because the joints of the leg behave like a torsion spring in the stance phase. In this paper, we describe the development of a joint mechanism that mimics the elastic characteristics of the joints of the stance leg. The knee was equipped with a mechanism comprising two laminated leaf springs made of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic for adjusting the joint stiffness and a worm gear in order to achieve active movement. Using this mechanism, we were able to achieve joint stiffness mimicking that of a human knee joint that can be adjusted by varying the effective length of one of the laminated leaf springs. The equation proposed for calculating the joint stiffness considers the difference between the position of the fixed point of the leaf spring and the position of the rotational center of the joint. We evaluated the performance of the laminated leaf spring and the effectiveness of the proposed equation for joint stiffness. We were able to make a bipedal robot run with one leg using pelvic oscillation for storing energy produced by the resonance related to leg elasticity. View Full-Text
Keywords: humanoid; running; joint stiffness; leaf spring humanoid; running; joint stiffness; leaf spring
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Otani, T.; Hashimoto, K.; Isomichi, T.; Sakaguchi, M.; Kawakami, Y.; Lim, H.-O.; Takanishi, A. Joint Mechanism That Mimics Elastic Characteristics in Human Running. Machines 2016, 4, 5.

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