JRM Vol.32 No.5 pp. 1061-1070
doi: 10.20965/jrm.2020.p1061


Design and Modeling of Soft Pneumatic Helical Actuator with High Contraction Ratio

Peizheng Yuan, Ginjiro Kawano, and Hideyuki Tsukagoshi

Tokyo Institute of Technology
2-12-1 Ookayama, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 152-8552, Japan

May 20, 2020
August 18, 2020
October 20, 2020
pneumatics, soft actuator, wearable robot
Design and Modeling of Soft Pneumatic Helical Actuator with High Contraction Ratio

Helical actuator with high contraction ratio made of simple materials

Soft contraction actuators are becoming important elements particularly for human-friendly robotic applications. However, it is challenging to achieve both a large operating distance while generating practical force. Hence, we present a new soft contraction actuator capable of realizing a high ratio contraction by pneumatic power. It can be easily fabricated using soft materials, including rubber tubes, one-way extensible cloth, and inextensible wire. Its initial shape is tubular but it can curve and coil to a helix shape owing to its different extensibilities on two sides when pressurized. A maximum contraction ratio of 78% and a 23 N contraction force can be achieved with an 11.6 mm initial outer diameter tube under 0.3 MPa. The effect of the tilt angle of a one-way extensible cloth on the helical shape is investigated, and a mathematical model illustrating the relationship between the contraction ratio and force is derived. Our experimental results suggest that this helical actuator has a much higher contraction ratio than a McKibben actuator under the same conditions. Finally, we discuss the potential application of the proposed actuator to a wearable device, i.e., for assisting the dorsiflexion of an ankle joint requiring a wide range of motion.

Cite this article as:
P. Yuan, G. Kawano, and H. Tsukagoshi, “Design and Modeling of Soft Pneumatic Helical Actuator with High Contraction Ratio,” J. Robot. Mechatron., Vol.32, No.5, pp. 1061-1070, 2020.
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Last updated on Dec. 03, 2020