Chapter 21 — Actuators for Soft Robotics

Variable impedance actuators: Moving the robots of tomorrow

Most of today's robots have rigid structures and actuators requiring complex software control algorithms and sophisticated sensor systems in order to behave in a compliant and safe way adapted to contact with unknown environments and humans. By studying and constructing variable impedance actuators and their control, we contribute to the development of actuation units that can match the intrinsic safety, motion performance and energy efficiency of biological systems and, in particular, of the humans. As such, this may lead to a new generation of robots that can co-exist and co-operate with people and get closer to the human manipulation and locomotion performance than is possible with current robots.
B. Vanderborght, A. Albu-Schäffer, A. Bicchi, E. Burdet, D. Caldwell, R. Carloni, M. Catalano, Ganesh, Garabini, Grebenstein, Grioli, Haddadin, Jafari, Laffranchi, Lefeber, Petit, Stramigioli, Tsagarakis, Van Damme, Van Ham, Visser, Wolf