Electrorheological gel linear actuator for human-coexistence robots

Ken'ichi Koyanagi, Yasuhiro Kakinuma, Hidenobu Anzai, Tomoya Yamaguchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Robots manipulated by humans are being aggressively researched and developed. Such robots have requirements such as a large generative force, high-speed response, good controllability, high safety, low friction and backdriveability. We focused on backdriveability and created a prototype for a novel linear actuator with a new structure that includes an electrorheological (ER) gel, which is a recently designed functional material. The device is an all-purpose actuator that satisfies the demands for application in a human-coexistence welfare robot, such as power-assist systems. This paper presents the original plan for the linear actuator, shows the actuator as currently manufactured and presents the basic characteristics of the actuator as investigated experimentally. We obtained larger force from the linear actuator than the initial target. Additionally, the linear actuator shows possibilities of further improvement of the force-weight ratio by an increase of the ER gel structures. With regard to stabilizing the response of the linear actuator, spring elements contributed to its improvement. However, further stabilization remains as a future issue for practical use in human-coexistence robots.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1963-1981
Number of pages19
JournalAdvanced Robotics
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Oct 1


  • Functional material
  • electrorheological gel
  • human-coexistence mechatronics
  • linear actuator
  • soft actuator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Science Applications


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