Stiffness Control of Deformable Robots Using Finite Element Modeling

Stiffness Control of Deformable Robots Using Finite Element Modeling

M. Koehler, A.M. Okamura and C. Duriez


Due to the complexity of modeling deformable materials and infinite degrees of freedom, the rich background of rigid robot control has not been transferred to soft robots. Thus, most model-based control techniques developed for soft robots and soft haptic interfaces are specific to the particular device. In this letter, we develop a general method for stiffness control of soft robots suitable for arbitrary robot geometry and many types of actuation. Extending previous work that uses finite element modeling for position control, we determine the relationship between end-effector and actuator compliance, including the inherent device compliance, and use this to determine the appropriate controlled actuator stiffness for a desired stiffness of the end-effector. Such stiffness control, as the first component of impedance control, can be used to compensate for the natural stiffness of the deformable device and to control the robot’s interaction with the environment or a user. We validate the stiffness projection on a deformable robot and include this stiffness projection in a haptic control loop to render a virtual fixture

IEEE Robotic and Automation Letters and IEEE ICRA 20109


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