The Robotics & MultiBody Mechanics Research Group of the VUB started its activities in 1990. In 1995 they started the research towards walking and hopping machines and the need for soft actuators in legged robots to absorb impact, interact with an unknown environment and energy efficiency. They developed the compliant actuators Pleated Pneumatic Artificial Muscles (PPAM 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0), different versions of the MACCEPA actuator and recently the SPEA actuator, funded by an ERC Starting Grant and initiated the research towards self healing actuators. They also developed the first ever self-healing soft pneumatic actuator. Appropriate control architectures for soft actuators are designed for improved safety, robustness and energy efficiency. The actuators are implemented on different legged robots like the monopod OLIE, the pneumatic biped Lucy, the MACCEPA powered Veronica and the hopping robot Chobino1D. The research towards legged robots and Variable Stiffness Actuators also lead to the development of safe coworkers/manipulators and prostheses (ankle-foot IPPAM, AMPFOOT 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 and the knee-ankle HEKTA and Cyberlegs prosthesis) and exoskeletons (both rehabilitation and assistance) for the lower limbs like Knexo, Altacro, Biomot and Mirad. The research is performed from fundamental studies, towards application driven research and valorization and is in the Flemish Strategic Research Center $B!H(BFlanders Make$B!I(B for the manufacturing industry. R&MM is the leader in the BruBOTICS consortium (www.brubotics.eu) combining all robotics related expertise of the VUB together from exact and applied sciences (AI, sensors), physiology and rehabilitation and social/economical studies with more than 60 academic researchers. R&MM has 9 EU projects and 1 ERC grant and counts over 35 researchers.
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