Shock Absorption for Legged Locomotion through Magnetorheological Leg-Stiffness Control
The objective of this study was to evaluate the performance of a magnetorheological-fluid-based variable stiffness actuator leg under high impact forces through optimal tuning and control of stiffness and damping properties. To achieve this, drop testing experiments were conducted with the leg at various drop heights and payload masses. The results showed that while lower stiffness and higher damping can lead to lower impact forces and greater energy dissipation, respectively, optimal control can also protect the leg from deflecting beyond its functional range. Comparison with a rigid leg with higher damping showed a 57.5% reduction in impact force, while a more compliant leg with lower damping results in a 61.4% reduction. These findings demonstrate the importance of considering both stiffness and damping in the design of legged robots for high impact force resistance. This simultaneously highlights the efficacy of the proposed magnetorheological-fluid-based leg design for this purpose.
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Australian Research Council