Design of Extra Robotic Legs for Augmenting Human Payload Capabilities by Exploiting Singularity and Torque Redistribution
2018 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS)
We present the design of a new robotic human augmentation system that will assist the operator in carrying a heavy payload, reaching and maintaining difficult postures, and ultimately better performing their job. The Extra Robotic Legs (XRL) system is worn by the operator and consists of two articulated robotic legs that move with the operator to bear a heavy payload. The design was driven by a need to increase the effectiveness of hazardous material emergency response personnel who are
... ed by their personal protective equipment (PPE). The legs will ultimately walk, climb stairs, crouch down, and crawl with the operator while eliminating all external PPE loads on the operator. The forces involved in the most extreme loading cases were analyzed to find an effective strategy for reducing actuator loads. The analysis reveals that the maximum torque is exerted during the transition from the crawling to standing mode of motion. Peak torques are significantly reduced by leveraging redundancy in force application resulting from a closed-loop kinematic chain formed by a particular posture of the XRL. The actuators, power systems, and transmission elements were designed from the results of these analyses. Using differential mechanisms to combine the inputs of multiple actuators into a single degree of freedom, the gear reductions needed to bear the heavy loads could be kept at a minimum, enabling high bandwidth force control due to the near-direct-drive transmission. A prototype was fabricated utilizing the insights gained from these analyses and initial tests indicate the feasibility of the XRL system.