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Actuators, Volume 6, Issue 4 (December 2017)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial Actuators for Active Magnetic Bearings
Actuators 2017, 6(4), 31; doi:10.3390/act6040031
Received: 17 October 2017 / Revised: 17 October 2017 / Accepted: 25 October 2017 / Published: 27 October 2017
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Abstract
The literature of active magnetic bearing (AMB) technology dates back to at least 1937 when the earliest work that clearly describes an active magnetic bearing system was published by Jesse Beams [...]
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Active Magnetic Bearing Actuators)

Research

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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Stiffness Control of Variable Serial Elastic Actuators: Energy Efficiency through Exploitation of Natural Dynamics
Actuators 2017, 6(4), 28; doi:10.3390/act6040028
Received: 31 August 2017 / Revised: 21 September 2017 / Accepted: 21 September 2017 / Published: 27 September 2017
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Abstract
Variable elastic actuators are very promising for applications in physical human–robot interaction. Besides enabling human safety, such actuators can support energy efficiency, especially if the natural behavior of the system is exploited. In this paper, the power and energy consumption of variable stiffness
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Variable elastic actuators are very promising for applications in physical human–robot interaction. Besides enabling human safety, such actuators can support energy efficiency, especially if the natural behavior of the system is exploited. In this paper, the power and energy consumption of variable stiffness actuators with serial elasticity is investigated analytically and experimentally. Besides the fundamental mechanics, the influence of friction and electrical losses is discussed. A simple but effective stiffness control method is used to exploit the corresponding knowledge of natural dynamics by tuning the system to antiresonance operation. Despite nonlinear friction effects and additional electrical dynamics, the consideration of the ideal mechanical dynamics is completely sufficient for stiffness control. Simulations and experiments show that this yields a distinct reduction in power and energy consumption, which underlines the suitability of the control strategy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Variable Stiffness and Variable Impedance Actuators)
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Open AccessArticle Quantification of Force and Torque Applied by a High-Field Magnetic Resonance Imaging System on an Ultrasonic Motor for MRI-Guided Robot-Assisted Interventions
Actuators 2017, 6(4), 29; doi:10.3390/act6040029
Received: 13 August 2017 / Revised: 18 September 2017 / Accepted: 28 September 2017 / Published: 30 September 2017
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Abstract
The risk of accidental dislodgement of robot-operated surgical mechanisms can lead to morbidity or mortality. The force and torque applied by a 3.0-tesla scanner on an ultrasonic motor are not fully known. The force and torque may displace the motor, which is not
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The risk of accidental dislodgement of robot-operated surgical mechanisms can lead to morbidity or mortality. The force and torque applied by a 3.0-tesla scanner on an ultrasonic motor are not fully known. The force and torque may displace the motor, which is not fully magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-compatible but can be safely used in MR environments. A suspension apparatus was designed to measure the angles of deflection and rotation applied to the motor by MR magnetic fields. Three orientations and two power states of the motor were assessed inside the MR bore. The displacement force and torque were measured at eight locations with respect to the bore. The displacement force on the motor from 10 cm outside the magnet bore to 20 cm inside the bore ranged from 3 to 7 gF. The experimental measurements are in agreement with the theoretical values. Running the motor altered the force by 1 gF. The force does not significantly change when the MRI scanner is on. Considerable displacement force is applied to the motor, and no deflection torque is observed. Quantified values can be used to solve dynamic equations for robotic mechanisms intended for MRI-guided operations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue MEMS-based Actuators)
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Open AccessArticle Electric-Pneumatic Actuator: A New Muscle for Locomotion
Actuators 2017, 6(4), 30; doi:10.3390/act6040030
Received: 19 June 2017 / Revised: 8 September 2017 / Accepted: 16 October 2017 / Published: 25 October 2017
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Abstract
A better understanding of how actuator design supports locomotor function may help develop novel and more functional powered assistive devices or robotic legged systems. Legged robots comprise passive parts (e.g., segments, joints and connections) which are moved in a coordinated manner by actuators.
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A better understanding of how actuator design supports locomotor function may help develop novel and more functional powered assistive devices or robotic legged systems. Legged robots comprise passive parts (e.g., segments, joints and connections) which are moved in a coordinated manner by actuators. In this study, we propose a novel concept of a hybrid electric-pneumatic actuator (EPA) as an enhanced variable impedance actuator (VIA). EPA is consisted of a pneumatic artificial muscle (PAM) and an electric motor (EM). In contrast to other VIAs, the pneumatic artificial muscle (PAM) within the EPA provides not only adaptable compliance, but also an additional powerful actuator with muscle-like properties, which can be arranged in different combinations (e.g., in series or parallel) to the EM. The novel hybrid actuator shares the advantages of both integrated actuator types combining precise control of EM with compliant energy storage of PAM, which are required for efficient and adjustable locomotion. Experimental and simulation results based on the new dynamic model of PAM support the hypothesis that combination of the two actuators can improve efficiency (energy and peak power) and performance, while does not increase control complexity and weight, considerably. Finally, the experiments on EPA adapted bipedal robot (knee joint of the BioBiped3 robot) show improved efficiency of the actuator at different frequencies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Variable Stiffness and Variable Impedance Actuators)
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Open AccessArticle Efficient Structure-Based Models for the McKibben Contraction Pneumatic Muscle Actuator: The Full Description of the Behaviour of the Contraction PMA
Actuators 2017, 6(4), 32; doi:10.3390/act6040032
Received: 30 August 2017 / Revised: 2 October 2017 / Accepted: 23 October 2017 / Published: 27 October 2017
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Abstract
To clarify the advantages of using soft robots in all aspects of life, the effective behaviour of the pneumatic muscle actuator (PMA) must be known. In this work, the performances of the PMA are explained and modelled with three formulas. The first formula
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To clarify the advantages of using soft robots in all aspects of life, the effective behaviour of the pneumatic muscle actuator (PMA) must be known. In this work, the performances of the PMA are explained and modelled with three formulas. The first formula describes the pulling force of the actuator based on the structure parameters; furthermore, the formula presented is the generalised contraction force for wholly-pneumatic muscle actuators. The second important model is the length formula, which is modified to our previous work to fit different actuator structures. Based on these two models, the stiffness of the actuator is formulated to illustrate its variability at different air pressure amounts. In addition, these formulas will make the selection of proper actuators for any robot arm structure easier using the knowledge gained from their performance. On the other hand, the desired behaviour of this type of actuator will be predefined and controlled. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Electrochemical and Electromechanical Actuators)
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Open AccessArticle Modeling the Static Force of a Festo Pneumatic Muscle Actuator: A New Approach and a Comparison to Existing Models
Actuators 2017, 6(4), 33; doi:10.3390/act6040033
Received: 7 September 2017 / Revised: 15 October 2017 / Accepted: 20 October 2017 / Published: 2 November 2017
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Abstract
In this paper, a new approach for modeling the static force characteristic of Festo pneumatic muscle actuators (PMAs) will be presented. The model is physically motivated and therefore gives a deeper understanding of the Festo PMA. After introducing the new model, it will
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In this paper, a new approach for modeling the static force characteristic of Festo pneumatic muscle actuators (PMAs) will be presented. The model is physically motivated and therefore gives a deeper understanding of the Festo PMA. After introducing the new model, it will be validated through a comparison to a measured force map of a Festo DMSP-10-250 and a DMSP-20-300, respectively. It will be shown that the error between the new model and the measured data is below 4.4% for the DMSP-10-250 and below 2.35% for the DMSP-20-300. In addition, the quality of the presented model will be compared to the quality of existing models by comparing the maximum error. It can be seen that the newly introduced model is closer to the measured force characteristic of a Festo PMA than any existing model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pneumatic Actuators)
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