Design, identification and experimental testing of a light-weight flexible-joint arm for aerial physical interaction

Burak Yuksel, Saber Mahboubi, Cristian Secchi, Heinrich H. Bulthoff, Antonio Franchi

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper we introduce the design of a light-weight novel flexible-joint arm for light-weight unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which can be used both for safe physical interaction with the environment and it represents also a preliminary step in the direction of performing quick motions for tasks such as hammering or throwing. The actuator consists of an active pulley driven by a rotational servo motor, a passive pulley which is attached to a rigid link, and the elastic connections (springs) between these two pulleys. We identify the physical parameters of the system, and use an optimal control strategy to maximize its velocity by taking advantage of elastic components. The prototype can be extended to a light-weight variable stiffness actuator. The flexible-joint arm is applied on a quadrotor, to be used in aerial physical interaction tasks, which implies that the elastic components can also be used for stable interaction absorbing the interactive disturbances which might damage the flying system and its hardware. The design is validated through several experiments, and future developments are discussed in the paper.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7139280
Pages (from-to)870-876
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings - IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation
Issue numberJune
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jun 29
Event2015 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, ICRA 2015 - Seattle, United States
Duration: 2015 May 262015 May 30

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Design, identification and experimental testing of a light-weight flexible-joint arm for aerial physical interaction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this