Compliant actuation of parallel-type variable stiffness actuator based on antagonistic actuation

Ki Hoon Nam, Byeong Sang Kim, Jae Bok Song

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


For a service robot requiring physical human-robot interaction, stable contact motion and collision safety are very important. To accomplish these functions, we propose a novel design for a parallel-type variable stiffness actuator (PVSA). The stiffness and position of a joint can be controlled simultaneously using the PVSA based on an antagonistic actuation inspired by the musculoskeletal system. The PVSA consists of a dual-cam follower mechanism, which acts like a human muscle, and a drive module with two motors. Each cam placed inside the dual cam-follower mechanism has two types of cam profile to provide a wide range of stiffness variation and collision safety. The use of the PVSA enables position and stiffness control to occur simultaneously. Furthermore, joint stiffness instantly decreases when the PVSA is subject to a high torque exceeding a pre-determined value, thereby improving collision safety. Experiments showed that the PVSA provides effective levels of variable stiffness and collision safety.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2315-2321
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Mechanical Science and Technology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Center for Autonomous Intelligent Manipulation under the Human Resources Development Program for Convergence Robot Specialists and by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (No. 2010-0001647).


  • Antagonistic actuation
  • Collision safety
  • Dual cam-follower mechanism
  • Variable stiffness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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