This study characterizes hybrid control approaches for the variable recruitment of fluidic artificial muscles with double acting (antagonistic) actuation. Fluidic artificial muscle actuators have been explored by researchers due to their natural compliance, high force-to-weight ratio, and low cost of fabrication. Previous studies have attempted to improve system efficiency of the actuators through variable recruitment, i.e. using discrete changes in the number of active actuators. While current variable recruitment research utilizes manual valve switching, this paper details the current development of an online variable recruitment control scheme. By continuously controlling applied pressure and discretely controlling the number of active actuators, operation in the lowest possible recruitment state is ensured and working fluid consumption is minimized. Results provide insight into switching control scheme effects on working fluids, fabrication material choices, actuator modeling, and controller development decisions.
Tyler E. Jenkins, Edward M. Chapman, and Matthew Bryant, "Control approach development for variable recruitment artificial muscles," Proc. SPIE 9799, Active and Passive Smart Structures and Integrated Systems 2016, 979911 (Presented at SPIE Smart Structures and Materials + Nondestructive Evaluation and Health Monitoring: March 23, 2016; Published: 15 April 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2222201.
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