Inflatable robots with pneumatic actuation are naturally lightweight and compliant. Both of these characteristics make a robot of this type better suited for human environments where unintentional impacts will occur. The dynamics of an inflatable robot are complex and dynamic models that explicitly allow variable stiffness control have not been well developed. In this thesis, a dynamic model was developed for an antagonistic, pneumatically actuated joint with inflatable links.The antagonistic nature of the joint allows for the control of two states, primarily joint position and stiffness. First a model was developed to describe the position states. The model was used with model predictive control (MPC) and linear quadratic control (LQR) to control a single degree of freedom platform to within 3° of a desired angle. Control was extended to multiple degrees of freedom for a pick and place task where the pick was successful ten out of ten times and the place was successful eight out of ten times.Based on a torque model for the joint which accounts for pressure states that was developed in collaboration with other members of the Robotics and Dynamics Lab at Brigham Young University, the model was extended to account for the joint stiffness. The model accounting for position, stiffness, and pressure states was fit to data collected from the actual joint and stiffness estimation was validated by stiffness measurements.Using the stiffness model, sliding mode control (SMC) and MPC methods were used to control both stiffness and position simultaneously. Using SMC, the joint stiffness was controlled to within 3 Nm/rad of a desired trajectory at steady state and the position was controlled to within 2° of a desired position trajectory at steady state. Using MPC,the joint stiffness was controlled to within 1 Nm/rad of a desired trajectory at steady state and the position was controlled to within 2° of a desired position trajectory at steady state. Stiffness control was extended to multiple degrees of freedom using MPC where each joint was treated as independent and uncoupled. Controlling stiffness reduced the end effecter deflection by 50% from an applied load when high stiffness (50 Nm/rad) was used rather than low stiffness (35 Nm/rad).This thesis gives a state space dynamic model for an inflatable, pneumatically actuated joint and shows that the model can be used for accurate and repeatable position and stiffness control with stiffness having a significant effect.
College and Department
Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Best, Charles Mansel, "Position and Stiffness Control of Inflatable Robotic Links Using Rotary Pneumatic Actuation" (2016). Theses and Dissertations. 5971.
inflatable, soft robot, optimal control, contact, pneumatic actuation, model predictive control