Design Engineering
Showcase 2020

State Dependent Damping Can Reduce Magnitude and Variability of Collision Force in Legged Locomotion

Elham Hamid
Dr Thrishantha Nanayakkara
Modern Motion

This work investigates the effect of biologically inspired angle-dependent damping control primarily on the magnitude and variability of the peak collision force. We also quantify its impact on peak velocity and peak displacement of the joint after collision with the ground before recovering back to the original angle. Most designed knee joints use impedance control, but to date it is unknown how angle-dependent impedance profiles can influence stability of walking.

Our numerical and experimental results show that a specific hyperbolic angle-dependent damping profile minimised the magnitude and the variability of collision force, which is a critical factor for metastable legged locomotion. Furthermore, we show using angle-dependent damping profile also reduces the variability and magnitude of post-collision peak angle change and angular velocity. The magnitude of the power consumption was also analysed which provided us with an insight that a hyperbolic angle-dependent damping profile can also reduce power required for walking.


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