I’ve been getting a lot of comments lately asking about the various power options you have for exoskeletons – and they all have their merits. So let’s take a closer look.
There are Five main options.
- Servo motor
- Linear Actuator (electric)
- Mechanical Advantage
As you know, I’ve mostly been playing around with pneumatics. This is because they are cheap, flexible, fast, and easy to control. Unfortunately they don’t have much precision – typically they are ON or OFF, it’s hard to do proper positional control with these.
I’d love to work with hydraulics, but they are much more expensive, much more dangerous, and VERY powerful. They can be controlled very accurately, but will limit your flexibility because of the flow restriction due to oil. If you take the pressure off of a pneumatic cylinder, it will move quickly as it vents to atmosphere — you can’t do that with hydraulics, otherwise you’d have oil squirting everywhere!