Actuators are a vital component, and more often than not one of the limiting factors in robotics and robotics related applications. For the use of actuators in robotics related to humanoids, exoskeletons, prosthetics and orthoses, there are more factors that influence the selected actuator than the basic mechanical outputs, size, backlash, material and power consumption. The main interest within these applications is that because the device is being carried by the human user, thus weight, power consumption and form factor are important selection parameters. The correct selection of an actuator for these applications is a difficult and lengthy process to perform. This paper creates an organizational framework and database for searching the wide range of actuators. This dataset is organized into a design tool that plots the properties of each actuator on varying graphs creating trade-off Ashby charts to rapidly narrow the selection space for designers. A case study is performed to demonstrate the use of this design tool in human-centric actuation applications. The database is utilized in the selection of the ideal actuator based on lines of best fit and a multivariate regression analysis for the optimization of parameters about the required specifications. In addition, a meta-analysis identifies clusters of current actuators, gaps for new developments, and trends. This work provides research direction into developing specific actuators to fit into these trend gaps which offers substantial benefits to humanoids, exoskeletons, prosthetics and orthosis.

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