Photogrammetric Measurement and Analysis of the Shape Profile of Pneumatic Artificial Muscles

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Chambers, J.M.; Wereley, N.M. Photogrammetric Measurement and Analysis of the Shape Profile of Pneumatic Artificial Muscles. Actuators 2021, 10, 72.


Inaccuracies in modeling of the geometric shape of PAMs has long been cited as a probable source of error in modeling and design efforts. The geometric shape and volume of PAMs is commonly approximated using a cylindrical shape profile, even though its shape is non-cylindrical. Correction factors—based on qualitative observations of the PAM’s general shape—are often implemented to compensate for error in this cylindrical shape approximation. However, there is little evidence or consensus on the accuracy and form of these correction factors. Approximations of the shape profile are also used to calculate the internal volume of PAMs, as experimental measurements of the internal volume require intrusive testing methods and specialized equipment. This research presents a photogrammetric method for measuring the shape profile and internal volume of PAMs. A test setup, method of image data acquisition, and a preliminary analysis of the image data, is presented in this research. A 22.2 mm (7/8 in) diameter PAM is used to demonstrate the photogrammetric procedure and test its accuracy. Analysis of the tested PAM characterizes trends of the shape profile with respect to pressure and contraction. The common method of estimating the diameter—through the use of the cylindrical approximation and initial geometry of the PAM—is tested by comparison to the measured shape profile data. Finally, a simple method of calculating the internal volume using the measured shape profile data is developed. The presented method of acquiring photogrammetric measurements of PAM shape produces an accurate characterization of its shape profile, thereby mitigating uncertainty in PAM shape in analysis and other efforts.