Flexible Pneumatic Bending Actuator for a Robotic Tongue
Nobutsuna Endo, Yuta Kizaki, and Norihiro Kamamichi
Tokyo Denki University
5 Senju Asahi-cho, Adachi-ku, Tokyo 120-8551, Japan
There are not many physical models of oral and laryngeal systems for human speech movement in both computer simulators and mechanical simulators. In particular, there is no robot tongue mechanism that completely reproduces the deformation motion of the human tongue. The human tongue is an aggregate of muscles devoid of a skeleton. It only possesses a small hyoid. The purpose of this study is to develop a flexible actuator without a rigid link, aiming at the development of a tongue mechanism for a mechanical speech robot. We propose a flexible pneumatic bending actuator using thin McKibben muscles and a soft body formed by a silicone resin. We have verified its mechanical characteristics and described a control method for displacement and curvature. The elasticity/compliance of the silicone resin forming the soft body of this actuator was quantified by tensile tests. The oscillation parameters were identified, and it is suggested that the dynamic model can be described by a spring-mass-damper system. Assuming an arc-shaped deformation model, a simultaneous control system for the arc length and curvature was constructed and its effectiveness was confirmed.
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