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Actuators 2018, 7(2), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/act7020022

Investigating the Effect of a Mechanism Combined with a Speed-Increasing Gear and a Pneumatic Artificial Muscle

1
Center for Frontier Medical Engineering, Chiba University, 1-33 Yayoi-cho, Inage-ku, Chiba 263-8522, Japan
2
College of Engineering and Design, Shibaura Institute of Technology, 3-9-14 Shibaura, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-8548, Japan
3
Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Chiba University, 1-33 Yayoi-cho, Inage-ku, Chiba 263-8522, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 4 April 2018 / Revised: 4 May 2018 / Accepted: 9 May 2018 / Published: 11 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pneumatic Actuators)
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Abstract

The lightness and softness of pneumatic artificial muscles (PAMs) contribute to their safe use in mechanical devices involved with humans. However, a PAM has limited range of motion (ROM) and a stroke-dependent output force. In this paper, a mechanism combined with a PAM and a speed-increasing gear was developed to improve the tradeoff relationship between the ROM and output force and to verify its benefits in order to enhance the convenience of using PAMs. The gear enhanced the ROM and back-drivability of the PAM, which is beneficial for device safety in daily use. We first designed a mechanism consisting of an antagonistic system-driven PAM and the gear, and then simulated the relationship between the ROM and output force of the mechanism. The effectiveness of the mechanism including the gear was compared with a non-gear mechanism with multiple PAMs. We prototyped the PAM mechanism with and without the gear, and their ROMs, impact absorption, and viscoelasticity were experimentally investigated. Results showed that the gear effectively improved both ROM and output torque below a certain load; moreover, the gear ratio and air pressure had large effects on the external static and dynamic forces, respectively. We confirmed comprehensively the effect and feasibility of the mechanism. View Full-Text
Keywords: speed-increasing gear; pneumatic artificial muscle; back-drivability; viscoelasticity; antagonistic drive system speed-increasing gear; pneumatic artificial muscle; back-drivability; viscoelasticity; antagonistic drive system
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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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Sekine, M.; Kokubun, R.; Yu, W. Investigating the Effect of a Mechanism Combined with a Speed-Increasing Gear and a Pneumatic Artificial Muscle. Actuators 2018, 7, 22.

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