ICMA 2009 Conference
Plenary Talk 2
Actuation and Power System Influences
on Mechatronic Design
Italian Institute of Technology,
Via Morego 30,
16163 Genoa, Italy
Tel: (+39) 010-71781-407, Fax: (+39) 010-717-2086
Actuators form one of the critical components of any mechatronic system,
converting stored energy available in a range of forms (typically electric,
hydraulic, pneumatic or chemical), into useful mechanical actions that allow a
system to interact with the environment. The selection of the actuators and the
power sources in any mechanism is therefore one of the key determinants of the
mechanical performance. For animals, muscle has a unique ability to provide
power for land, sea and air borne creatures ranging in size from whales to
microbes, with adaptation to cope with environmental extremes, but the
engineering world has failed to provide one universal solution and the task of
"optimum" actuator selection often remains unresolved.
In this talk, I will present our work on the development of both conventional
and novel actuation systems to try to resolve these often conflicting demands.
In particular I will focus on the needs of biomimetic and humanoid robots and
the development of embodied cognition within these systems (eg the child robot
iCub) which sees the actuators having a central rather than a peripheral part
in the definition of intelligence as well as simple mechanical performance.
is a Director at the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa, Italy, and a Visiting/Honorary
Professor at the Universities of Sheffield, Manchester, Bangor and Kings' College London.
He received a B.Sc and Ph.d in Robotics in 1986 and 1990 respectively from the University of
Hull and an M.Sc in Management from the University of Salford in 1996. Prior to his appointment
at IIT he was at the University of Salford from 1989 to 2007 as a Lecturer, S. Lecturer, Reader
and finally Professor of Advanced Robotics in the Centre for Robotics and Automation (1999-2007).
He is a past chair of the UKRI region of the IEEE (Robotics and Automation Society) and the
IEEE Robotic and Intelligent Systems PN. He is on the editorial board of Journal for Robots,
International Journal of Social Robotics and Industrial Robot.