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Pneumatic Actuators Give Robot Cheetah-Like Acceleration

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A speeding cheetah.

Roboticists at the University of Cape Town are studying the finer details of cheetah anatomy and dynamics to imbue their ’bots with a few cheetah-like qualities.

Credit: slowmotiongli/iStock

Researchers at South Africa's University of Cape Town developed a legged robot that uses pneumatic actuators to accelerate and maneuver like cheetahs.

Despite lacking fine force control, pneumatic actuators are cheaper than hydraulics.

The robot, Kemba, features high-torque quasi-direct drive electric motors at the hips and high-force pneumatic pistons on the knees.

University of Cape Town's Amir Patel explained, "From our years studying cheetahs here in South Africa, it appears as if they're not really trying to do fine force control when accelerating from rest. They're just pushing off as hard as they can — which makes us think that an on/off actuator [also known as a bang-bang controller] like pneumatics could do that job. We're arguing that fine force control is maybe not needed for rapid maneuverability tasks."

Kemba can jump up to 1 meter high and repeatedly reach 0.5 meters with a controlled landing.

From IEEE Spectrum
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Abstracts Copyright © 2023 SmithBucklin, Washington, D.C., USA


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