Special Issue "Soft and Compliant Actuators and Their Robotic Applications"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 December 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Amir Jafari
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Assistant Professor, Advanced Robotic Manipulators (ARM) lab, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Texas at San Antonio UTSA, One Circle, San Antonio, TX, USA
Interests: physical human–robot interaction; compliant/variable compliance mechanisms; rehabilitation robotics
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Guangbo Hao
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Engineering and Architecture-Electrical and Electronic Engineering, University College Cork, T12 K8AF Cork, Ireland
Interests: compliant mechanisms; smart structures; architectured materials; origami; micro/nano-manipulators

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are inviting submissions to a Special Issue of the journal Actuators on the subject area of “Soft and Compliant Actuators and Their Robotic Applications.” Robotic systems were initially designed to accurately control the position of the robotic end-effectors in known, isolated, and controlled environments. However, new trends in robotic applications demand physical human–robot interactions (pHRIs), the adaptability of the robotic platform to unknown and challenging environments, resilience against impacts and sudden changes, etc. These require substantial breakthroughs in the actuation aspect of robotic technology, where embedded compliance and softness are a plus if not a must. This Special Issue is intended to provide a forum for academic researchers and technical professionals to exchange their recent works on the design, development, and control of compliant and soft actuators. 

Topics of interest for publication in this Special Issue include but are not limited to the following: active and passive impedance control, variable stiffness actuators, artificial muscles, pneumatic soft actuators, dielectric elastomer actuators, soft actuators based on electroactive polymers (EAPs), thermo-active soft actuators, hydraulic soft actuators, electromagnetic soft actuators (ESAs), fluidic elastomer actuators (FEAs) and shape morphing polymers (SMPs).

Dr. Amir Jafari
Dr. Guangbo Hao
Guest Editors

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 monthly 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 1600 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

  • compliant actuation
  • soft robotics
  • control of soft/compliant actuators
  • adoptability of actuators
  • physical human–robot interactions (pHRIs)

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

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Article
Mechatronic Control System for a Compliant and Precise Pneumatic Rotary Drive Unit
Actuators 2020, 9(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/act9010001 - 20 Dec 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3156
Abstract
Robots that enable safe human-robot collaboration can be realized by using compliant drive units. In previous works, different mechanical designs of compliant pneumatic rotary drive units with similar characteristics have been presented. In this paper, we present the overall control approach that we [...] Read more.
Robots that enable safe human-robot collaboration can be realized by using compliant drive units. In previous works, different mechanical designs of compliant pneumatic rotary drive units with similar characteristics have been presented. In this paper, we present the overall control approach that we use to operate one of these compliant pneumatic rotary drive units. We explain the mechanical design and derive the differential equation that describes the dynamics of the system. In order to successfully operate a pneumatic drive unit with three or more working chambers, the torque specified by the controller has to be split up onto the working chambers. We transfer the well-known field-oriented control approach from electric motors to the investigated pneumatic drive unit to create such a torque mapping. Moreover, we develop optimized torque mappings that are tailored to work with this type of drive unit. Furthermore, we introduce and compare two control algorithms based on different implementations of state feedback to realize position control. Finally, we present the step responses that we achieve when we implement either one of the control algorithms in combination with the different torque mappings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soft and Compliant Actuators and Their Robotic Applications)
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Review

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Review
Current Trends and Prospects in Compliant Continuum Robots: A Survey
Actuators 2021, 10(7), 145; https://doi.org/10.3390/act10070145 - 28 Jun 2021
Viewed by 820
Abstract
Compliant continuum robots (CCRs) have slender and elastic bodies. Compared with a traditional serial robot, they have more degrees of freedom and can deform their flexible bodies to go through a constrained environment. In this paper, we classify CCRs according to basic transmission [...] Read more.
Compliant continuum robots (CCRs) have slender and elastic bodies. Compared with a traditional serial robot, they have more degrees of freedom and can deform their flexible bodies to go through a constrained environment. In this paper, we classify CCRs according to basic transmission units. The merits, materials and potential drawbacks of each type of CCR are described. Drive systems depend on the basic transmission units significantly, and their advantages and disadvantages are reviewed and summarized. Variable stiffness and intrinsic sensing are desired characteristics of CCRs, and the methods of obtaining the two characteristics are discussed. Finally, we discuss the friction, buckling, singularity and twisting problems of CCRs, and emphasise the ways to reduce their effects, followed by several proposing perspectives, such as the collaborative CCRs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soft and Compliant Actuators and Their Robotic Applications)
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