Variable stiffness actuators (VSA) are fostered in robotics for their capability to address physical interaction with a physically adjustable compliance, being advantageous in terms of efficiency, safety and adaptability to unknown environments. Here we introduce the concept of a switching VSA (sVSA), in which a single actuator is used to control the position or the stiffness of a robotic joint according to a mechanical switch. Despite not allowing simultaneous control of both quantities, this architecture has the potential to make the design lighter, requiring one continuously powered actuator, controllable in position, and one additional switch, activated only occasionally between two limit stages: the advantages are the separation of the motors power requirements and a simpler control. A first prototype of a 1-DoF revolute variable-stiffness joint has been built, based on the vsaUT-II developed at the University of Twente, with a novel clutch mechanism allowing continuous and efficient switching. The prototype proved functionality and feasibility of the sVSA concept.
|Title of host publication||2015 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Publication status||Published - 29 Jun 2015|
|Event||2015 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, ICRA 2015 - Seattle, United States|
Duration: 26 May 2015 → 30 May 2015
|Conference||2015 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, ICRA 2015|
|Period||26/05/15 → 30/05/15|