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JRM Vol.28 No.2 pp. 226-233
doi: 10.20965/jrm.2016.p0226
(2016)

Paper:

Study on a Pneumatically Actuated Robot for Simulating Evolutionary Developmental Process of Musculoskeletal Structures

Hideyuki Ryu, Yoshihiro Nakata, Yuya Okadome, Yutaka Nakamura, and Hiroshi Ishiguro

Department of Systems Innovation, Graduate School of Engineering Science, Osaka University
1-3 Machikaneyama-cho, Toyonaka, Osaka 560-8531, Japan

Received:
April 2, 2015
Accepted:
February 22, 2016
Published:
April 20, 2016
Keywords:
actuator network system, evolutionary robotics, multiarticular muscle, musculoskeletal robot
Abstract

Study on a Pneumatically Actuated Robot for Simulating Evolutionary Developmental Process of Musculoskeletal Structures

A pneumatic musculoskeletal robot

Under the effects of surroundings such as gravitational force, ambient temperature, and chemical substances, each animal has acquired an optimized body structure through its evolution. For example, vertebrate land animals have a sophisticated musculoskeletal structure including not only monoarticular muscles but also multiarticular muscles to support their weight against gravitational force. Many researchers have developed musculoskeletal robots with a biarticular muscle mechanism that enables them to execute physical tasks similar to the mimicked animal. However, the developmental process of the musculoskeletal structure has not been examined in detail in past studies. In this study, we developed a musculoskeletal robot with redundant air cylinders to investigate the developmental process of the body structure of the animal. We proposed a switching mechanism between several muscle structures called the actuator network system (ANS). In the ANS, the selection of mutually interconnected, simultaneously activated air cylinders is changed by switching the interconnections. The experimental results indicate that by changing the connection of the cylinders and the inner pressure of the connected cylinders, i.e., the strength of the connection, the response of the robot to external forces can be modified, thus demonstrating the feasibility of our approach.

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