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Investigation of safety in human-robot-interaction for a series elastic, tendon-driven robot arm

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2 Author(s)
Thomas Lens ; Simulation, Optimization and Robotics Group, Department of Computer Science, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Germany ; Oskar von Stryk

This paper presents the design of the lightweight BioRob manipulator with spring-loaded tendon-driven actuation developed for safe physical human-robot interaction. The safety of the manipulator is analyzed by an analytical worst-case estimation of impact and clamping forces in the absence of collision detection. As intrinsic joint compliance can pose a threat by storing energy, a safety evaluation method is proposed taking the potential energy stored in the elastic actuation into account. The evaluation shows that the robot arm design constrains the worst case clamping forces to only 25 N, while being able to handle loads up to 2 kg, and inherits extremely low impact properties, such as an effective mass of less than 0.4 kg in non near-singular configurations, enabling safe operation even in case of high velocities. The results are validated in simulation and experiments.

Published in:

2012 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems

Date of Conference:

7-12 Oct. 2012