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Polymer Optical Fiber for Angle and Torque Measurements of a Series Elastic Actuator’s Spring

LEAL-JUNIOR, A. ; Frizera-Neto, A. Frizera-Neto ; Marques, C. ; Sanchez, M. ; Santos, W. ; Siqueira, A. ; Segatto, M. ; Pontes, M. J. Pontes

Journal of Lightwave Technology Vol. 36, Nº 9, pp. 1698 - 1705, May, 2018.

ISSN (print): 0733-8724
ISSN (online):

Journal Impact Factor: 2,567 (in 2015)

Digital Object Identifier: 10.1109/JLT.2017.2789192

Series elastic actuators (SEAs) can provide low output impedance, bandwidth close to the human movement and direct measurement of torque through the spring deflection. These advantages enable the application of SEAs in human active orthosis and exoskeletons. However, conventional technologies to measure the spring deflection are bulky, inhibit natural pattern
of movement or are sensitive to misalignments. This paper presents the application of polymer optical fiber (POF) as a sensor to measure the spring deflection to overcome some of the issues of conventional technologies, since it is compact,
lightweight and have electromagnetic immunity. Furthermore, the spring is employed to validate a torque sensor based on POF stress-optic effects. Results show high linearity of both sensors and mean squared errors below the encoder resolution employed as reference on dynamic measurements.