TitleSafe and Fast Actuators for Machines Interacting with Humans
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2004
Conference NameProc. of the 1st Technical Exhibition Based Conference on Robotics and Automation, TExCRA2004, November 18-19, TEPIA, Tokyo, Japan -
Pagination(in press)
Publication Languageeng
AuthorsBicchi, A, Tonietti, G, Schiavi, R

This paper describes a new generation of actuators for robotic applications, and more generally for machines that are designed to interact with humans. Such actuators, called Variable Impedance Actuators, are designed to achieve fast motion control while guaranteeing safety of human operators in worst-case impact situation. The fundamental innovation is to implement safety by purely mechanical, passive means, to guarantee intrinsic safety, while active control is used to recover performance. The design concept, which is the subject of a patent application, has led to the experimental implementation of a Variable Stiffness Actuator. The effectiveness of the VSA has been recently validated theoretically and experimentally by authors.

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