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Appl. Sci. 2017, 7(10), 1005; doi:10.3390/app7101005

Design and Experimental Development of a Pneumatic Stiffness Adjustable Foot System for Biped Robots Adaptable to Bumps on the Ground

1
State Key Laboratory of Robotics and System, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin 150080, China
2
Legs + Walking Lab, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab (Formerly the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago), Chicago, IL 60611, USA
3
Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL 60611, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 20 August 2017 / Revised: 8 September 2017 / Accepted: 26 September 2017 / Published: 29 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bio-Inspired Robotics)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [5422 KB, uploaded 29 September 2017]   |  

Abstract

Walking on rough terrains still remains a challenge that needs to be addressed for biped robots because the unevenness on the ground can easily disrupt the walking stability. This paper proposes a novel foot system with passively adjustable stiffness for biped robots which is adaptable to small-sized bumps on the ground. The robotic foot is developed by attaching eight pneumatic variable stiffness units to the sole separately and symmetrically. Each variable stiffness unit mainly consists of a pneumatic bladder and a mechanical reversing valve. When walking on rough ground, the pneumatic bladders in contact with bumps are compressed, and the corresponding reversing valves are triggered to expel out the air, enabling the pneumatic bladders to adapt to the bumps with low stiffness; while the other pneumatic bladders remain rigid and maintain stable contact with the ground, providing support to the biped robot. The performances of the proposed foot system, including the variable stiffness mechanism, the adaptability on the bumps of different heights, and the application on a biped robot prototype are demonstrated by various experiments. View Full-Text
Keywords: structure design; biped robot; foot mechanism; variable stiffness; rough terrain structure design; biped robot; foot mechanism; variable stiffness; rough terrain
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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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MDPI and ACS Style

Zang, X.; Liu, Y.; Li, W.; Lin, Z.; Zhao, J. Design and Experimental Development of a Pneumatic Stiffness Adjustable Foot System for Biped Robots Adaptable to Bumps on the Ground. Appl. Sci. 2017, 7, 1005.

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