Robotics: Science and Systems VIII

Exploiting Passive Dynamics with Variable Stiffness Actuation in Robot Brachiation

Jun Nakanishi, Sethu Vijayakumar


This paper explores a passive control strategy with variable stiffness actuation for swing movements. We consider brachiation as an example of a highly dynamic task which requires exploitation of gravity in an efficient manner for successful task execution. First, we present our passive control strategy considering a pendulum with variable stiffness actuation. Then, we formulate the problem based an optimal control framework with temporal optimization in order to simultaneously find an appropriate stiffness profile and movement duration such that the resultant movement will be able to exploit the passive dynamics of the robot. Finally, numerical evaluations on a two-link brachiating robot with a variable stiffness actuator (VSA) model are provided to demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach under different task requirements, modelling errors and variations in the robot dynamics. In addition, we discuss the issue of task description in terms of the choice of cost function for successful task execution in optimal control.



    AUTHOR    = {Jun Nakanishi AND Sethu Vijayakumar}, 
    TITLE     = {Exploiting Passive Dynamics with Variable Stiffness Actuation in Robot Brachiation}, 
    BOOKTITLE = {Proceedings of Robotics: Science and Systems}, 
    YEAR      = {2012}, 
    ADDRESS   = {Sydney, Australia}, 
    MONTH     = {July},
    DOI       = {10.15607/RSS.2012.VIII.039}