IJAT Vol.11 No.3 pp. 361-367
doi: 10.20965/ijat.2017.p0361


Self-Powered Flywheel-Infinitely Variable Transmission Actuator for Artificial Knee Joints

Roberta Aló, Francesco Bottiglione, and Giacomo Mantriota

Dipartimento di Meccanica, Matematica e Management, Politecnico di Bari
Viale Japigia 182, Bari 70126, Italy

Corresponding author

October 1, 2016
November 11, 2016
Online released:
April 28, 2017
May 5, 2017

The efficient energetics of human walking could possibly be used to fulfill the total power requirement of human knee, without requiring any additional sources of energy. This study intends to addresses this issue by examining the idea of a novel self-powered actuator for artificial knee joints of wearable robots. The self-powered Flywheel-Infinitely Variable Transmission (F-IVT) is an actuator whose only source of power is a flywheel that stores and delivers energy from and to the knee joint by changing the speed ratio of the IVT according to the phase of the gait cycle. This study evaluates the efficacy of this novel actuator by estimating the amount of energy it can deliver to the knee joint while the subject walks on level ground at varied speeds.

  1. [1] J. M. Donelan, Q. Li, V. Naing, J. A. Hoffer, D. J. Weber, and A. D. Kuo, “Biomechanical Energy Harvesting: Generating Electricity During Walking with Minimal User Effort,” Science, Vol.319, No.5864, pp. 807-810, 2008.
  2. [2] P. Cherelle, G. Mathijssen, Q. Wang, B. Vanderborght, and D. Lefeber, “Advances in Propulsive Bionic Feet and Their Actuation Principles,” Advances in Mechanical Engineering, Vol.6, 2014.
  3. [3] J. L. Pons, “Wearable Robots: Biomechatronic Exoskeletons,” John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Chichester UK, 2008.
  4. [4] A. A. M. Faudz, N. H. I. M. Lazim, and K. Suzumori, “Modeling and Force Control of Thin Soft McKibben Actuator,” Int. J. of Automation and Technology, Vol.10, No.4, pp. 487-493, 2016.
  5. [5] T. Nozaki and T. Noritsugui, “Motion Analysis of McKibben Type Pneumatic Rubber Artificial Muscle with Finite Element Method,” Int. J. of Automation and Technology, Vol.8, No.2, pp. 147-158, 2014.
  6. [6] H. Kobayash, T. Aida, and T. Hashimoto, “Muscle Suit Development and Factory Application,” Int. J. of Automation and Technology, Vol.3, No.6, pp. 709-715, 2009.
  7. [7] J. E. Pratt, B. T. Krupp, C. J. Morse, and S. H. Collins, “The RoboKnee: an exoskeleton for enhancing strength and endurance during walking,” In Proc. 2004 IEEE Int. Conf. on Robotics and Automation (ICRA 2004), Vol.3, pp. 2430-2435, 2004.
  8. [8] G. Carpino, D. Accoto, F. Sergi, N. L. Tagliamonte, and E. Guglielmelli, “A novel compact torsional spring for series elastic actuators for assistive wearable robots,” J. of Mechanical Design, Vol.134, No.12, 2012.
  9. [9] B. J. Bergelin and P. A. Voglewede, “Design of an active ankle-foot prosthesis utilizing a four-bar mechanism,” Vol.134, No.6, 2012.
  10. [10] D. F. B. Haeufle, M. D. Taylor, S. Schmitt, and H. Geyer, “A clutched parallel elastic actuator concept: Towards energy efficient powered legs in prosthetics and robotics,” In 2012 4th IEEE RAS EMBS Int. Conf. on Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics (BioRob), pp. 1614-1619, 2012.
  11. [11] J. F. Veneman, R. Ekkelenkamp, R. Kruidhof, F. C. v. d. Helm, and H. v. d. Kooij, “A Series Elastic- and Bowden-Cable-Based Actuation System for Use as Torque Actuator in Exoskeleton-Type Robots,” The Int. J. of Robotics Research, Vol.25, No.3, pp. 261-281, 2006.
  12. [12] G. Mathijssen, B. Brackx, M. V. Damme, D. Lefeber, and B. Vanderborght, “Series-parallel elastic actuation (SPEA) with intermittent mechanism for reduced motor torque and increased efficiency,” In 2013 IEEE/RSJ Int. Conf. on Intelligent Robots and Systems, pp. 5841-5846, 2013.
  13. [13] D. Paluska and H. Herr, “The effect of series elasticity on actuator power and work output: Implications for robotic and prosthetic joint design,” Robotics and Autonomous Systems, Vol.54, No.8, pp. 667-673, 2006.
  14. [14] E. J. Rouse, L. M. Mooney, and H. M. Herr, “Clutchable serieselastic actuator: Implications for prosthetic knee design,” The Int. J. of Robotics Research, Vol.33, No.13, pp. 1611-1625, 2014.
  15. [15] M. Grimmer, M. Eslamy, and A. Seyfarth, “Energetic and Peak Power Advantages of Series Elastic Actuators in an Actuated Prosthetic Leg for Walking and Running,” Actuators, Vol.3, No.1, p. 1, 2014.
  16. [16] G. Grioli, S. Wolf, M. Garabini, M. Catalano, E. Burdet, D. Caldwell, R. Carloni, W. Friedl, M. Grebenstein, M. Laffranchi, D. Lefeber, S. Stramigioli, N. Tsagarakis, M. v. Damme, B. Vanderborght, A. Albu-Schaeffer, and A. Bicchi, “Variable stiffness actuators: The user’s point of view,” The Int. J. of Robotics Research, Vol.34, No.6, pp. 727-743, 2015.
  17. [17] R. Aló, F. Bottiglione, and G. Mantriota, “An Innovative Design of Artificial Knee Joint Actuator with Energy Recovery Capabilities,” ASME. J. of Mechanisms Robotics, Vol.8, No.1, 2015.
  18. [18] R. Aló, F. Bottiglione, and G. Mantriota, “Artificial knee joints actuators with energy recovery capabilities a comparison of performance,” J. of Robotics, 2016.
  19. [19] G. Bovi, M. Rabuffetti, P. Mazzoleni, and M. Ferrarin, “A multipletask gait analysis approach: Kinematic, kinetic and fEMGg reference data for healthy young and adult subjects,” Gait & Posture, Vol.33, No.1, pp. 6-13, 2011.
  20. [20] L. Mangialardi and G. Mantriota, “Power flows and efficiency in infinitely variable transmissions,” Mechanism and machine theory, Vol.34, No.7, pp. 973-994, 1999.
  21. [21] F. Bottiglione and G. Mantriota, “Reversibility of Power-Split Transmissions,” ASME. J. of Mechanical Design, Vol.133, No.8, pp. 084503-084503-5, 2011.
  22. [22] F. Bottiglione and G. Mantriota, “Effect of the ratio spread of CVU in automotive Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems,” J. of Mechanical Design, Vol.135, No.6, p. 061001, 2013.
  23. [23] G. Carbone, L. Mangialardi, and G. Mantriota, “A comparison of the performances of full and half toroidal traction drives,” Mechanism and Machine Theory, Vol.39, No.9, pp. 921-942, 2004.

*This site is desgined based on HTML5 and CSS3 for modern browsers, e.g. Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, IE9,10,11, Opera.

Last updated on Sep. 19, 2017