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Using Nonlinear Normal Modes for Execution of Efficient Cyclic Motions in Articulated Soft Robots

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Experimental Robotics (ISER 2020)

Part of the book series: Springer Proceedings in Advanced Robotics ((SPAR,volume 19))

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Thanks to their body elasticity, articulated soft robots promise to produce effective and robust oscillations with low energy consumption. This in turn is an important feature which can be exploited in the execution of many tasks, as for example locomotion. Yet, an established theory and general techniques allowing to excite and sustain these nonlinear oscillations are still lacking. A possible solution to this problem comes from nonlinear modal theory, which defines curved extensions of linear Eigenspaces called Eigenmanifolds. Stabilizing these surfaces is equivalent to exciting regular hyper-efficient oscillations in the robotic system. This paper proposes a first experimental validation of the Eigenmanifold stabilization technique. It also proposes a simple yet effective means of injecting energy into the system, so to sustain the oscillations in presence of damping. We consider as experimental setups a single robotic leg, and a full soft quadruped. Preliminary locomotion results are provided with both systems.

This work is supported by the European Union ERC project 835284 M-Runners.

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  1. 1.

    Different choices of the physical parameters (e.g. the spring stiffnesses) could have produced a convex oscillation.


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Della Santina, C., Lakatos, D., Bicchi, A., Albu-Schaeffer, A. (2021). Using Nonlinear Normal Modes for Execution of Efficient Cyclic Motions in Articulated Soft Robots. In: Siciliano, B., Laschi, C., Khatib, O. (eds) Experimental Robotics. ISER 2020. Springer Proceedings in Advanced Robotics, vol 19. Springer, Cham.

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