Research Papers

Harmonious Cable Actuation Mechanism for Soft Robot Joints Using a Pair of Noncircular Pulleys

[+] Author and Article Information
Jung-wook Suh

Daegu-Gyeongbuk Research Center,
Electronics and Telecommunications Research
Institute (ETRI),
1, Techno-sunwhan-ro 10-gil, Yuga-myeon,
Daegu 42994, South Korea
e-mails: jwsuh@etri.re.kr; hendatou@gmail.com

Ki-young Kim

Daegu Research Center,
Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials
330, Techno-sunwhan-ro, Yuga-myeon,
Daegu 42994, South Korea
e-mail: kiyoung@kimm.re.kr

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Mechanisms and Robotics Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANISMS AND ROBOTICS. Manuscript received February 1, 2018; final manuscript received July 20, 2018; published online August 24, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Xilun Ding.

J. Mechanisms Robotics 10(6), 061002 (Aug 24, 2018) (11 pages) Paper No: JMR-18-1030; doi: 10.1115/1.4041055 History: Received February 01, 2018; Revised July 20, 2018

Various slim robots, such as surgical robots or humanoid robot fingers, are remotely actuated using transmission cables. If pull–pull drive is applied to actuate them using circular driving spools regardless of the shape of the joints, the tension of the driving cable becomes difficult to be maintained properly. Fortunately, it is possible to solve such a cable slack problem by providing an appropriate cable actuation length to the joint structure of the robot from the cable driving unit. Therefore, we propose a harmonious nonlinear cable actuation mechanism suitable for driving noncircular shaped joints. The proposed cable driver can mechanically provide the required cable actuation length to suit the angle change of the target joint using a pair of noncircular pulleys without increasing the number of actuators. In this paper, a design methodology of a noncircular pulley that can be applied to pulleyless rolling joints (PR joints) as well as pulleyless hinge joints is shown. Moreover, a practical cable driver is designed for actuating a hyper-redundant discrete bending joint composed of PR joints, and its effectiveness is verified through experiments. This novel cable actuation mechanism using noncircular pulleys or gears is expected to be applicable to various miniature robots such as surgical robots and animal robots of continuum structure in the future.

Copyright © 2018 by ASME
Topics: Cables , Pulleys , Tension , Design
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Fig. 3

Classification of the actuation methods of a pair of cables: (a) proportional, (b) regressive, and (c) progressive cable release drives

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Fig. 2

Four different types of cable-actuated joints showing a 30 deg bent posture with a neutral straight posture: (a) pulley-assisted joint, (b) pulleyless hinge joint, (c) compliant joint, and (d) pulleyless rolling joint

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Fig. 1

Conventional cable actuation mechanisms for noncircular joints

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Fig. 4

The first harmonious cable actuation mechanism using noncircular driving spool

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Fig. 5

The second harmonious cable actuation mechanism using a pair of noncircular gears or pulleys

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Fig. 6

Schematics of the pulleyless rolling joint

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Fig. 9

Designed profile shape of the two noncircular pulleys

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Fig. 7

Relation between two cable actuation lengths LPL and LPR for three types of joints

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Fig. 8

Schematics of the noncircular pulleys for driving a discrete bending joint

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Fig. 10

Relative motion of the two designed noncircular pulleys

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Fig. 11

An exploded view of the nonlinear cable driver using a pair of noncircular pulleys

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Fig. 12

Prototype of the bending joint robot assembled with the nonlinear cable driver

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Fig. 13

Bending configuration of the bending joint actuated by the proposed harmonious cable driver

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Fig. 14

Measured cable tension for driving the bending joint

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Fig. 15

Experiment to measure bearing load of the 45 deg bent joint: (a) system setup and (b) overlapped configurations of the deformed joint

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Fig. 16

Measured bearing load for 20 mm lateral displacement



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