One of the primary difficulties to implementing NiTi shape memory alloys as robotic actuators is reliably amplifying their low linear strain to large effective displacements. Bowden tubes, called “push-pull cables” in other industries, allow a long length of Shape Memory Alloy (SMA) wire to fit in a small space; this provides a method for increasing effective SMA actuator strain without compromising space or complexity of the entire mechanism. The mechanical advantage of the Bowden tube provides faster actuation speeds, but comes at a cost of increased thermal capacitance resulting in higher power consumption. A feedback control system has been formed comprising the Bowden tube actuator, a rotary platform, and a microcontroller. The controller heats the SMA by passing current through the SMA wire using pulse-width-modulation. After describing the creation of the electro-mechanical system, its capabilities and limitations are discussed. Linear Parameter Varying (LPV) models of SMA are used to determine the range of characteristics the inherently nonlinear SMA system will exhibit. A sliding mode controller is designed based on these characteristics, and implemented in the prototype. Sliding-mode control is shown to be a powerful tool for SMA control even when system parameters are uncertain.

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