Soft linear actuators (SLAs) such as shape memory alloy (SMA) wires, pneumatic soft actuators, dielectric elastomer actuator, and twisted and coiled soft actuator (TCA) called artificial muscle actuators in general, have many advantages over the conventional actuators. SLAs can realize innovative robotic technologies like soft robots, wearable robots, and bionic arms in the future, but further development is still needed in real applications because most SLAs do not provide large displacement or force as needed. This paper presents a novel mechanism supplementing SLAs by accumulating the displacement of multiple SLAs. It adopts the principle of differential gears in reverse. Since the input units of the mechanism are extensible, more displacement can be accumulated by increasing the number of the input units as many as needed. The mechanism is basically used to accumulate displacements, but can be used to accumulate forces by changing its operating mode. This paper introduces the design and working principle of the mechanism and validates its operation experimentally. In addition, the mechanism is implemented on a robotic arm and its effectiveness is confirmed.
Multiple Inputs-Single Accumulated Output Mechanism for Soft Linear Actuators
Contributed by the Mechanisms and Robotics Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANISMS AND ROBOTICS. Manuscript received January 10, 2018; final manuscript received September 28, 2018; published online November 13, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Robert J. Wood.
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Cho, K. H., Kim, H. M., Kim, Y., Yang, S. Y., and Choi, H. R. (November 13, 2018). "Multiple Inputs-Single Accumulated Output Mechanism for Soft Linear Actuators." ASME. J. Mechanisms Robotics. February 2019; 11(1): 011007. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4041632
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