Special Issue "Robotic Actuators"

A special issue of Actuators (ISSN 2076-0825).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2018)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Gianluca Palli

University of Bologna DEI - Department of Electrical, Electronic and Information Engineering, Viale Risorgimento 2 40136 Bologna, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Phone: (+39) 051 20 93186
Interests: robotic manipulation; robotic hands; design and control of robotic manipulators; underwater robotics; force/tactile sensors; compliant actuation; mobile manipulation; manipulation of deformable objects

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The development of a new generation of intelligent and autonomous robots requires the implementation of a novel class of more compact and powerful actuators with embedded control and sensing technologies. Moreover, other than the classic force and/or displacement output, these new actuators are requested to exhibit more complex bio-inspired behaviours, such as variable stiffness. In other cases, they need to be arranged in complex actuation networks, where the connection topology, antagonism, actuation strategy and self-diagnosis play a crucial role.

On the other hand, the increasing complexity of ­robots raises the problem of a simple mechanical, electrical and control interconnection between multiple actuators and kinematic structures. Therefore, the introduction of modular, self-organizing actuators capable to detect the kinematics of the structure, generate suitable control strategies and communicate in a fast and efficient way among each other is fundamental.

Although recently several actuators purposely developed for robotics are available on the market, the field of smart robotic actuators faces still a number of fundamental scientific and technological challenges, and the need of standardization in this field is becoming more and more important. Therefore, this Special Issue targets high quality publications spanning the following topics:

  • design of novel actuators for robotics
  • embedded force, motion and stiffness control
  • smart, modular and self-organizing actuators
  • sensor integration and miniaturization
  • actuation networks
  • control and actuation of large DOF bodies
  • standards for robotic actuators
Dr. Gianluca Palli
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Actuators is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 350 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • actuator design
  • embedded control
  • smart actuators
  • sensor integration
  • actuation networks
  • actuation control
  • actuator standardization

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Design and Stiffness Evaluation of a Compliant Joint with Parallel Architecture Realizing an Approximately Spherical Motion
Actuators 2018, 7(2), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/act7020020
Received: 18 February 2018 / Revised: 18 April 2018 / Accepted: 21 April 2018 / Published: 27 April 2018
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Abstract
This paper introduces the design of a fully-compliant Spherical Joint (SJ), obtained by the in-parallel connection of two identical open chains each composed of three equal circular flexible beams, having coincident centers of curvature and mutually orthogonal axes of minimum rotational stiffness. Thanks
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This paper introduces the design of a fully-compliant Spherical Joint (SJ), obtained by the in-parallel connection of two identical open chains each composed of three equal circular flexible beams, having coincident centers of curvature and mutually orthogonal axes of minimum rotational stiffness. Thanks to its particular topology, the SJ provides a fully isotropic behavior, the two chains being placed in space so as to be symmetric with respect to the beams’ center of curvature. At first, the overall system compliance matrix is derived by means of an analytical procedure, in order to obtain a parametric formulation of the SJ behavior within the small deflection range. Then, after finite element validation of the analytical model, an optimization study of the beam geometry is developed, with the aim of maximizing the ratio between the SJ primary to secondary compliance factors. At last, the potential advantages and drawbacks of the proposed design are discussed by numerically evaluating the joint performance in terms of parasitic motions within the large deflection range (namely, when large external loads are applied to the envisaged center of spherical motion). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Robotic Actuators)
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Open AccessArticle A New and Versatile Adjustable Rigidity Actuator with Add-on Locking Mechanism (ARES-XL)
Actuators 2018, 7(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/act7010001
Received: 12 November 2017 / Revised: 21 December 2017 / Accepted: 3 January 2018 / Published: 5 January 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (5894 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Adjustable compliant actuators are being designed and implemented in robotic devices because of their ability to minimize large forces due to impacts, to safely interact with the user, and to store and release energy in passive elastic elements. Conceived as a new force-controlled
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Adjustable compliant actuators are being designed and implemented in robotic devices because of their ability to minimize large forces due to impacts, to safely interact with the user, and to store and release energy in passive elastic elements. Conceived as a new force-controlled compliant actuator, an adjustable rigidity with embedded sensor and locking mechanism actuator (ARES-XL) is presented in this paper. This compliant system is intended to be implemented in a gait exoskeleton for children with neuro muscular diseases (NMDs) to exploit the intrinsic dynamics during locomotion. This paper describes the mechanics and initial evaluation of the ARES-XL, a novel variable impedance actuator (VIA) that allows the implementation of an add-on locking mechanism to this system, and in combination with its zero stiffness capability and large deflection range, provides this novel joint with improved properties when compared to previous prototypes developed by the authors and other state-of-the-art (SoA) devices. The evaluation of the system proves how this design exceeds the main capabilities of a previous prototype as well as providing versatile actuation that could lead to its implementation in multiple joints. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Robotic Actuators)
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Review

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Open AccessFeature PaperReview An Overview of Novel Actuators for Soft Robotics
Actuators 2018, 7(3), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/act7030048
Received: 10 June 2018 / Revised: 24 July 2018 / Accepted: 9 August 2018 / Published: 16 August 2018
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Abstract
In this systematic survey, an overview of non-conventional actuators particularly used in soft-robotics is presented. The review is performed by using well-defined performance criteria with a direction to identify the exemplary and potential applications. In addition to this, initial guidelines to compare the
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In this systematic survey, an overview of non-conventional actuators particularly used in soft-robotics is presented. The review is performed by using well-defined performance criteria with a direction to identify the exemplary and potential applications. In addition to this, initial guidelines to compare the performance and applicability of these novel actuators are provided. The meta-analysis is restricted to five main types of actuators: shape memory alloys (SMAs), fluidic elastomer actuators (FEAs), shape morphing polymers (SMPs), dielectric electro-activated polymers (DEAPs), and magnetic/electro-magnetic actuators (E/MAs). In exploring and comparing the capabilities of these actuators, the focus was on eight different aspects: compliance, topology-geometry, scalability-complexity, energy efficiency, operation range, modality, controllability, and technological readiness level (TRL). The overview presented here provides a state-of-the-art summary of the advancements and can help researchers to select the most convenient soft actuators using the comprehensive comparison of the suggested quantitative and qualitative criteria. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Robotic Actuators)
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