DOI: 10.3390/act13020064 ISSN: 2076-0825

A Review of Mechanisms to Vary the Stiffness of Laminar Jamming Structures and Their Applications in Robotics

Freddy Caro, Marc G. Carmichael
  • Control and Optimization
  • Control and Systems Engineering

Laminar jamming (LJ) is a method to achieve variable stiffness in robotics that has attracted notable attention because of its simple working principle and potential high stiffness variation. This article reviews the lock/unlock mechanisms of LJ structures. The application of these mechanisms in robotics is discussed, including grippers, continuum robots, wearable robots, robot arms, and more. Furthermore, the performance and limitations of the mechanisms to vary the stiffness of LJ are qualitatively and quantitatively analyzed. This performance analysis focuses mainly on the potential of LJ mechanisms to be applied in robot arms with variable stiffness and their potential to attenuate the impact between human beings and robot arms. The modeling of LJ through analytical and finite element methods is described, and their evolution towards design methodologies is discussed. To conclude, the directions and recommendations that should be followed in research on LJ are discussed. These include the improvement of existing lock/unlock mechanisms, the development of new lock/unlock mechanisms, and the development of more control algorithms for robot arms that incorporate LJ structures.

More from our Archive