Series Elasticity in Linearly Actuated Humanoids
Orekhov, Viktor Leonidovich
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Recent advancements in actuator technologies, computation, and control have led to major leaps in capability and have brought humanoids ever closer to being feasible solutions for real-world applications. As the capabilities of humanoids increase, they will be called on to operate in unstructured real world environments. This realization has driven researchers to develop more dynamic, robust, and adaptable robots. Compared to state-of-the-art robots, biological systems demonstrate remarkably better efficiency, agility, adaptability, and robustness. Many recent studies suggest that a core principle behind these advantages is compliance, yet there are very few compliant humanoids that have demonstrated successful walking. The work presented in this dissertation is based on several years of developing novel actuators for two full-scale linearly actuated compliant humanoid robots, SAFFiR and THOR. Both are state-of-the-art robots intended to operate in the extremely challenging real world scenarios of shipboard firefighting and disaster response. The design, modeling, and control of actuators in robotics application is critical because the rest of the robot is often designed around the actuators. This dissertation seeks to address two goals: 1) advancing the design of compliant linear actuators that are well suited for humanoid applications, and 2) developing a better understanding of how to design and model compliant linear actuators for use in humanoids. Beyond just applications for compliant humanoids, this research tackles many of the same design and application challenges as biomechanics research so it has many potential applications in prosthetics, exoskeletons, and rehabilitation devices.
- Doctoral Dissertations