Series Elastic Actuator (SEA): Laboratory set up for human augmentation and assistance


The Project had the goal to construct a laboratory setup for research purpose on Series Elastic Actuators (SEA). SEA is an actual method to makes human beings interact with robots. It introduces a compliant element between the body of the user and the actuating drive.

This method has several advantages like decoupling the motor Inertia from the user. But also it transforms the measurement of the acting torque into a distance measurement. Thereby it allows a force controller to be implemented based on a distance measurement.

The method has also some drawbacks, like a bandwidth limitation of the overall system, and a limitation of the maximum rendered stiffness. Details of these advantages and drawbacks are discussed in the final report.

Goal of the project

It has been chosen to build a setup so that the BioRob laboratory could test several configuration of a system equipped with an SEA. The setup is developed for the movement of the forearm of a human being.

The project focused on the mechanical design of the elastic element but also on the overall system. It was also required to integrate the necessary electronic for the measurements and power supply.