Actuated universal joints, or equivalent joint systems, are found in a number of robotic applications, in particular mobile snake robots, continuum robots and robotic tails. These joints have two degrees of freedom on two axes, each perpendicular to a third axis and to themselves. Such joints use a variety of actuation methods, including direct drive motors, linear screw drives, cable based systems, and hydraulics/pneumatics. In this paper the authors design and validate a mechanism that uses the Twisted String Actuator (TSA) in an antagonistic triad to actuate the universal joint, using orientation sensors and load cells to create a robust cascading closed loop control system. This results in a light, compact, high-performance actuation system that avoids the extra mass and hardware complexity that alternative actuation methods present, with the additional challenge of nonlinearity.
|Title of host publication||2022 International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA)|
|Publication status||Published - 12 Jul 2022|