Development of Soft Manipulator with Variable Rheological Joints and Pneumatic Sensor for Collision with Environment
Taro Nakamura, Yuki Akamatsu, and Yuta Kusaka
Chuo University, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Department of Precision Mechanics, 1-13-27 Kasuga, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 112-8551, Japan
Recently, as robots and humans have increasingly come to share common space, especially in the fields of medical and home automation, it has become necessary to consider the frequent physical collision of robots and environments (e.g. humans). However, many robot joints employ actuators with high-ratio gear trains, and therefore, when this type of robot comes into contact with a human, physical pain may be caused. This study deals with the development of a manipulator using a smart flexible joint employing ER fluid and a pneumatic cushion that has a sensor function. In addition, position control and collision experiments were performed with the developed manipulator. The experimental results demonstrate the effectiveness of the manipulator.
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