COmpliant huMANoid Has Joints With Variable Stiffness (+VIDEO)
A group of researchers from the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) has designed a COMAN robot (COmpliant huMANoid), featuring joints with variable stiffness, which would improve their safety. The robot is made of titanium alloy, stainless steel, and aluminum alloy, covered by an ABS plastic exoskeleton. The COmpliant huMANoid is modeled on a four-year-old child, it is 94.5 cm tall and weighs 31.2 kg; it features 25 degrees of freedom (DOF), and a combination of stiff and compliant joints. The compliant joints (14 DOF) rely on a number of elastic actuators on the robot’s hips, knees, ankles, shoulders, and elbows. In walking experiments the robot’s hardware absorbed the ground reaction forces of each footstep without additional control enforcement thanks to the elastic actuators. After the implementation of a stabilization control method, the robot steadied itself on a moving platform, when it was knocked around. The IIT team is among the first to build a compliant humanoid with both arms and legs; they are currently working on the robot’s head and hands.