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Open AccessArticle

Characterization of Control-Dependent Variable Stiffness Behavior in Discrete Muscle-Like Actuators

by Caleb Fuller *,† and Joshua Schultz
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Tulsa, Tulsa, OK 74104, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Current address: 800 S. Tucker Dr. Tulsa, OK 74104, USA.
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(3), 346; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8030346
Received: 5 February 2018 / Revised: 20 February 2018 / Accepted: 22 February 2018 / Published: 28 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bio-Inspired Robotics)
This paper presents the modeling, characterization and validation for a discrete muscle-like actuator system composed of individual on–off motor units with complex dynamics inherent to the architecture. The dynamics include innate hardening behavior in the actuator with increased length. A series elastic actuator model is used as the plant model for an observer used in feedback control of the actuator. Simulations are performed showing the nonlinear nature of the changing stiffness as well as how this affects the dynamics, clearly observed in the phase portrait. Variable-stiffness hardening behavior is evaluated in experiment and shows good agreement with the model. View Full-Text
Keywords: actuators; variable stiffness; muscle-like actuators; discrete; control; Series Elastic Actuator (SEA) model actuators; variable stiffness; muscle-like actuators; discrete; control; Series Elastic Actuator (SEA) model
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Fuller, C.; Schultz, J. Characterization of Control-Dependent Variable Stiffness Behavior in Discrete Muscle-Like Actuators. Appl. Sci. 2018, 8, 346.

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