Skip to Main Content
Until now, design of variable physical impedance actuators (VIAs) has been limited mainly to realising variable stiffness while other components of impedance shaping, such as damping, are either fixed (e.g., with the addition of fixed passive dampers) or modulated with active feedback control schemes. In this work we introduce an actuator that is capable of simultaneous and independent physical damping and stiffness modulation. Using optimal control techniques, we explore how variable physical damping can be exploited in such an actuator in the context of rapid movement. Several numerical simulation results are presented, in addition to an experiment realised on variable impedance robotic hardware.