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Robotic devices are traditionally actuated by hydraulic systems or electric motors. However, with the desire to make robotic systems more compact and versatile, new actuator technologies are required. In this paper, the control of ionic polymer metal composite actuators is investigated from a practical perspective. The actuator characteristics are examined through the unblocked maximum displacement and blocked force output. An open-loop position control and closed-loop position proportional-integral-derivative (PID) control are then applied to a strip of actuators. Finally, the performance of the polymer is investigated when implementing an impedance controller (force/position control).
Date of Publication: June 2003