Multimodal series elastic actuator for human-machine interaction with applications in robot-aided rehabilitation
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Series elastic actuators (SEAs) are becoming an elemental building block in collaborative robotic systems. They introduce an elastic element between the mechanical drive and the end-effector, making otherwise rigid structures compliant when in contact with humans. Topologically, SEAs are more amenable to accurate force control than classical actuation techniques, as the elastic element may be used to provide a direct force estimate. The compliant nature of SEAs provides the potential to be applied in robot-aided rehabilitation. This thesis proposes the design of a novel SEA to be used in robot-aided musculoskeletal rehabilitation. An active disturbance rejection controller is derived and experimentally validated and multiobjective optimization is executed to tune the controller for best performance in human-machine interaction. This thesis also evaluates the constrained workspaces for individuals experiencing upper-limb musculoskeletal disorders. This evaluation can be used as a tool to determine the kinematic structure of devices centred around the novel SEA.