Received 11 January 2018
Creation of cooperative robots working in close contact with human is an intensively developing direction of soft robotics. The urgency of developing of such robots is called by the need to assist people in carrying out heavy work in industrial enterprises and day-to-day housework, to care for the elderly and to assist disabled, and also need for medical care in hospitals and post-operative rehabilitation, for education and entertainment. Cooperative application, specific for such tasks, implies absolute safety, high functional flexibility and autonomy of used robots.
This requires development of new technologies in the field of control, creation of new design solutions, development of motion planning and executing algorithms, which ensure safety of physical interaction between a human and a robot.
It is emphasized that development of cooperative robots is impossible without development of modern actuation systems with variable compliance.
In the paper the prerequisites for the soft robotics development are described, principles of modern systems constructing with stiffness control, including joints with virtual stiffness, with fixed and variable stiffness, as well as general approaches to the creation of soft robots are dis-cussed. Examples of the use of cooperative robots in industries, in health care centers and in living conditions are given.
Cooperative robot, collaborative robot, cobot, soft robotics, physical human-robot interaction, pHRI, series elastic actuator, SEA, variable stiffness actuator, VSA, stiffness control, admittance control, impedance control, compliance control.
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