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LabsHumanoids & Human Centred MechatronicsProjects ■ Series Elastic Actuators (SEAs)

CompAct™ SEA

Until the last decade it was clear that the main approach was the use of heavy, stiff position/velocity and torque actuation units coupled with rigid non back-drivable transmission mechanisms. It has become increasingly clear that this traditional stiff actuation approach has significant performance limitations related to safety, efficiency and the ability to interact with the environment. To address the latest a wide range of experimental novel compliant actuation systems have been developed during the past fifteen years.

This project focuses on the development of a new compact soft actuation unit intended to be used in multi degree of freedom and small scale robotic systems such as the compliant humanoid robot “COMAN”. The miniaturization of the newly developed high performance unit is achieved with a use of a new rotary spring module based on a novel arrangement of linear springs.

This actuation platform exhibits the following characteristics:

  • Series Elastic Actuator (SEA)
  • High integration density
  • Introduces fixed passive compliance
  • Full joint state measurement
    • Gearbox position
    • Outer link position
    • Joint torque
    • Stiffness is tuned to a desired value (via active compliance control)
    • Use iCub compatible components

    Selected Publications


Last Updated on Monday, 16 April 2012 12:44


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