New elastic-redundant actuation concepts for improved energy efficiency

Project Details


It is well-established that the energy consumption of a robot’s motors can be decreased significantly by using elastic elements such as springs. Unfortunately, typical robotic tasks require a wide range of forces at a wide range of speeds. The full potential of springs often cannot be exploited when such
versatility is required, because springs are only beneficial if they match a specific load and motion. If the robot’s motion deviates a lot from the ideal motion, the energy consumption will rise, and the motors will possibly consume more than they would without the additional springs. In contrast,
redundant robots, which use more motors than strictly needed, are particularly good at versatile tasks. By distributing the power requirements over the motors in a smart way, they can be more efficient than their non-redundant equivalents with a minimal number of motors. The idea of this project is therefore to study how the concepts of elasticity and redundancy can be combined in robots, with the aim of reducing their energy consumption for a wide range of tasks. The hypothesis is that such robots will benefit from the energy reduction offered by the springs, while the redundant motor(s) allow them to maintain their versatility. The optimal combination of springs and motors will be studied on actuator level (i.e. a single “muscle”) as well as on robot level (i.e. the
entire robot arm). Furthermore, novel control strategies will be developed for highly dynamic tasks.
Effective start/end date1/01/2031/12/20

Flemish discipline codes

  • Energy generation, conversion and storage engineering not elsewehere classified


  • energy