Besides, such devices enable the exploitation of natural dynamics and can thus distinctly reduce energy requirements. These promising characteristics meet the demands of user-proximal and mobile assistive robotic systems. However, new technical issues emerge as overall system complexity and control requirements increase. Particularly challenging questions need to be answered when considering joint actions of humans and such (assistive) robots.
Our research currently focuses on how elastic robotic actuation can be designed and controlled to be energy-efficient and fault-tolerant. This comprises the configuration of actuator and elastic elements, variable stiffness mechanisms, and the development of control algorithms. Therefore, a complete modeling of the drive train and its interaction with (nonlinear) kinematics are required to understand its natural dynamics. Through system integration, fault-tolerant design, and safety management practical applicability of such actuators is supported. Another aspect of our research is to investigate how compliant characteristics are perceived by humans and how they can be used to support them, e. g., in prosthetic components.