Design of a Low-Cost Series Elastic Actuator for Multi-Robot Manipulation

We describe a proof-of-concept design for a low cost two-degree-of-freedom robotic arm that incorporates series elastic actuators (SEAs) with force sensing. The cost effective ness of the design will enable the construction of compliant manipulators for multi-robot systems with large populations. The arm assembly attaches to a commercially available mobile robot chassis to perform multi-robot coordination. In this work, we present the design of a robot arm and data from experiments to characterize the accuracy and resolution of the force sensing. We describe a force-following manipulation experiment using two robots. The experiment measures strain on a rigid bar between two robots. The data shows the feasibility of using SEAs for force sensing to reduce the strain in the bar. This is the first step towards a distributed force controller for multi robot object coordination with large numbers of robots.

Campbell E, Kong ZC, Hered W, Lynch AJ, O'Malley MK, McLurkin J
Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2011 IEEE International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (AAMAS 2012)