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Fast, Accurate Models for Predicting the Compliance of Elastic Flexure-Jointed Robots

[+] Author Affiliations
Lael Odhner, Aaron Dollar

Yale University, New Haven, CT

Paper No. DETC2010-29002, pp. 629-635; 7 pages
  • ASME 2010 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 2: 34th Annual Mechanisms and Robotics Conference, Parts A and B
  • Montreal, Quebec, Canada, August 15–18, 2010
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4410-6 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3881-5
  • Copyright © 2010 by ASME


Robot manipulators having elastic links or flexure joints have a number of advantages, especially in simplifying the control of contact with other objects. However, current simplified parametric models of flexure motion do not accurately predict the behavior of these mechanisms under large deflections. This paper presents a “smooth curvature model” of flexure behavior that describes the curvature of a highly flexible member such as a flexure joint using a basis of three orthogonal polynomials. Using this model, we show that it is possible to predict the planar stiffness these mechanisms, even in cases where the deformation of the hinge is too large for the linear Euler-Bernoulli beam bending model. Using both finite element methods and the much less computationally expensive proposed model, numerical results will demonstrate that it is possible to accurately predict the in-plane compliance of a highly flexible mechanism in the presence of an external load. The results of this work are significant because they demonstrate that the behavior of flexure-based robotic mechanisms can be modeled quickly and with few parameters, enabling their use in closed-loop control for situations where collision safety is a concern, and rigorous model-based path planning for obstacle avoidance, among other applications.

Copyright © 2010 by ASME



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