Piston-Driven Pneumatically-Actuated Soft Robots: modeling and backstepping control

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Actuators’ dynamics have been so far mostly neglected when devising feedback controllers for continuum soft robots since the problem under the direct actuation hypothesis is already quite hard to solve. Directly considering actuation would have made the challenge too complex. However, these effects are, in practice, far from being negligible. The present work focuses on model-based control of piston-driven pneumatically-actuated soft robots. We propose a model of the relationship between the robot’s state, the acting fluidic pressure, and the piston dynamics, which is agnostic to the chosen model for the soft system dynamics. We show that backstepping is applicable even if the feedback coupling of the outer on the inner subsystem is not linear. Thus, we introduce a general model-based control strategy based on backstepping for soft robots actuated by fluidic drive. As an example, we derive a specialized version for a robot with piecewise constant curvature.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1837-1842
JournalIEEE Control Systems Letters
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository 'You share, we take care!' - Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Control applications
  • PID Control
  • Robotics


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