Myorobotics

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Compliant, musculoskeletal robotic systems offer several advantages, especially in situations where human and robot work in close proximity. A musculoskeletal design takes inspiration from the mechanics of the human body. It makes extensive use of viscous-elastic materials to emulate the muscles and tendons which enhance safety, dexterity and adaptivity in uncertain environments. It also allows reducing body weight and developmental cost, while at the same time increasing design flexibility.

Objective

Although there are several research platforms available that employ this design, current systems utilize custom-made, complex hardware and software, which inhibits their use beyond robotics research in academic settings. In fact, most of these systems are custom designed and built by one research group and, as a result, are seldom in use by people other than the initial developers.

The MYOROBOTICS project aims to improve the quality and reliability of the hardware involved and to make musculoskeletal robots readily available to researchers working in robotics and other domains (e.g. cognition, neuroscience), educators and the industry. The approach taken utilizes a modular design, involving components that can be easily interconnected in different ways to achieve required forms and functionality. These components will be mass-producible and reproducible (leveraging rapid prototyping techniques), improving cost-effectiveness and facilitating the transition to the market. A software toolchain will be made available that will allow the assembly of a virtual musculoskeletal robot, the definition of control algorithms and high-level behaviours, the optimization of the controller's performance and the simulation of its interaction with the environment. Three different control schemes will be developed that will target the individual muscles, the joints and the entire body, respectively.

Myorobotics Building Blocks

All the aforementioned components, both software and hardware (the latter as CAD designs, board schematics and part lists) will be bundled in the MYOROBOTICS toolkit that will be made available as open-source to the community at large.

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Further Information

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Project Details

  • This project is funded by the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement N° 288219
  • Instrument: Collaborative Project
  • Thematic Piority: ICT - Cognitive Systems, Interation, Robotics
  • Project Start Date: 01/03/2012
  • Project Duration : 36 months

Page last updated 12 May 2016

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