Components and Control

Current designs of autonomous and mechatronic systems are no longer based solely on rigid mechanisms but contain specific elastic properties. Through this, safe human-machine and human-robot interaction and significantly reduced energy consumption by exploiting system dynamics are achieved. Both aspects help to meet the requirements of systems operating close to humans, but also raise new technical questions. In addition to increasing system complexity, this particularly relates to the requirements arising from direct interaction between humans and machines.

Our recent research focuses on the design of components, e.g., elastic actuators, aiming at energy efficiency and fault tolerance. In addition to developing mechanisms and actuators, we also tackle control and signal processing challenges. These play an important role in the implementation of fault-tolerant designs with safety management and thus support the practical applicability of elastic actuators. By considering human perception, components and control are designed to ensure intuitive and robust human-machine interaction.

 

Current Projects

Fault diagnosis and tolerance for elastic actuation systems in robotics: physical human-robot interaction

Funded by the DFG: BE 5729/1

Increased system complexity and operation in potentially critical operating states such as (anti)resonances can result in technical faults in elastic robotic actuators. To counteract this, we are examining fault diagnosis methods and fault-tolerant designs. One of our key interests is human-robot interaction, which can be influenced by suitable control algorithms for elastically actuated robots. Based on investigating human perception, we design elastic actuators to provide safe and reliable physical human-robot interaction through fault diagnosis and compensation.

Completed Projects

Human-oriented methods for intuitive and fault-tolerant control of wearable robotic devices

Supported by the “Athene Young Investigator” program of TU Darmstadt

In this project, control approaches for wearable robotics systems for movement support and augmentation were developed to provide efficient and natural support and prevent users from feeling “controlled by the robot”. Psychophysical experiments of how users experience device elasticity help to tune adaptive impedance control to ensure versatile locomotion and fault tolerance. Human-in-the-loop experiments were applied to investigate the body scheme integration of wearable robotics systems by their users.

 

Natural dynamics analysis and stiffness control of series- and parallel-elastic robotic actuators

Funded by the DFG: BE 5729/2

In cooperation with Vrije Universiteit Brussel, we investigated the influence of actuator-elasticity configurations on the inherent dynamics of elastic actuators and their power/energy requirements. For this purpose, rigid, series, and parallel elastic configurations were compared in simulations and experiments. The results inform actuator design and stiffness control.