Variable Recruitment in Bundles of Miniature Pneumatic Artificial Muscles and Space Qualified Pneumatic Artificial Muscles
DeLaHunt, Sylvie Adams
Wereley, Norman M
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The natural compliance and force generation properties of pneumatic artificial muscles (PAMs) allow them to operate like human muscles in anthropomorphic robotic manipulators. Traditionally, manipulators use a single PAM or multiple PAMs actuated in unison in place of a human muscle. However, these manipulators experience efficiency losses when operated outside their target performance ranges. The unidirectional actuation behavior of a miniature PAM bundle and bidirectional actuation behavior of an antagonistic pair of miniature PAM bundles are characterized and modeled. The results are used to motivate the application of a variable recruitment control strategy to a parallel bundle of miniature PAMs as an attempt to mimic the selective recruitment of motor units in a human muscle to improve the operating efficiency of the actuator. Additionally, the fabrication and quasi-static testing results for PAMs assembled from candidate space qualified bladder and braided sleeve materials for use in space robotics are assessed.