Design and control of a bio-inspired human-friendly robot

Dongjun Shin, Irene Sardellitti, Yong Lae Park, Oussama Khatib, Mark Cutkosky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Citations (Scopus)


The increasing demand for physical interaction between humans and robots has led to an interest in robots that guarantee safe behavior when human contact occurs. However, attaining established levels of performance while ensuring safety creates formidable challenges in mechanical design, actuation, sensing and control. To promote safety without compromising performance, a human-friendly robotic arm has been developed using the concept of hybrid actuation. The new design employs high-power, low-impedance pneumatic artificial muscles augmented with small electrical actuators, distributed compact pressure regulators with proportional valves, and hollow plastic links. The experimental results show that significant performance improvement can be achieved with hybrid actuation over a system with pneumatic muscles alone. In this paper we evaluate the safety of the new robot arm through experiments and simulation, demonstrating that its inertia/power characteristics surpass those of previous human-friendly robots we have developed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)571-584
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Robotics Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Apr

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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