Design of Linear Series Elastic Actuators for a Humanoid Robot
Knabe, Coleman Scott
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Series elastic actuators (SEAs) have numerous benefits for force controlled robotic applications. This thesis presents the design and assembly of a set of compact, lightweight, low-friction linear SEAs for the legs of the Tactical Hazardous Operations Robot (THOR). The THOR SEA pairs a ball screw driven linear actuator with a configurable titanium leaf spring. A removable pivot changes the effective cantilever length, setting the compliance to either 372 or 655 kN/m. Unlike typical SEAs which measure actuator load through spring deflection, an in-line axial load cell directly measures actuator forces up to the commandable peak of 2225 N. The continuous operating range of the actuator is computed, along with an evaluation of the range of motion and torque profiles for the parallel hip and ankle joints. With a focus on a large power-to-weight ratio and small packaging size, the THOR SEAs are well-suited for accurate torque control of the parallel joints on the robot. Linearly actuated joints, especially ones driven through a crank arm, tend to suffer from a loss of mechanical advantage toward the ends of its limited range of motion. To augment the range of motion and mechanical advantage profile on THOR, an inverted Hoeken's linkage straight line mechanism is paired with a linear SEA at the hip and knee pitch joints on the robot. The resulting linkage assembly is capable of delivering nearly constant peak torque of 115 Nm across its 150 degree range of motion. The mechanical advantage profile of the Hoeken's linkage actuator is computed for the nominal case, as well the deviation resulting from maximum deflection of the titanium beam.
- Masters Theses