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1 April 2015 Kinematics and control of redundant robotic arm based on dielectric elastomer actuators
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Soft robotics is a promising field and its application to space mechanisms could represent a breakthrough in space technologies by enabling new operative scenarios (e.g. soft manipulators, capture systems). Dielectric Elastomers Actuators have been under deep study for a number of years and have shown several advantages that could be of key importance for space applications. Among such advantages the most notable are high conversion efficiency, distributed actuation, self-sensing capability, multi-degree-of-freedom design, light weight and low cost. The big potentialities of double cone actuators have been proven in terms of good performances (i.e. stroke and force/torque), ease of manufacturing and durability. In this work the kinematic, dynamic and control design of a two-joint redundant robotic arm is presented. Two double cone actuators are assembled in series to form a two-link design. Each joint has two degrees of freedom (one rotational and one translational) for a total of four. The arm is designed to move in a 2-D environment (i.e. the horizontal plane) with 4 DoF, consequently having two degrees of redundancy. The redundancy is exploited in order to minimize the joint loads. The kinematic design with redundant Jacobian inversion is presented. The selected control algorithm is described along with the results of a number of dynamic simulations that have been executed for performance verification. Finally, an experimental setup is presented based on a flexible structure that counteracts gravity during testing in order to better emulate future zero-gravity applications.
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Francesco Branz, Andrea Antonello, Andrea Carron, Ruggero Carli, and Alessandro Francesconi "Kinematics and control of redundant robotic arm based on dielectric elastomer actuators", Proc. SPIE 9430, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2015, 943023 (1 April 2015);

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