Individual deformability compensation of soft hydraulic actuators through iterative learning-based neural network

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Robotic devices with soft actuators have been developed to realize the effective rehabilitation of patients with motor paralysis by enabling soft and safe interaction. However, the control of such robots is challenging, especially owing to the difference in the individual deformability occurring in manual fabrication of soft actuators. Furthermore, soft actuators used in wearable rehabilitation devices involve a large response delay which hinders the application of such devices for at-home rehabilitation. In this paper, a feed-forward control method for soft actuators with a large response delay, comprising a simple feed-forward neural network (FNN) and an iterative learning controller (ILC), is proposed. The proposed method facilitates the effective learning and acquisition of the inverse model (i.e. the model that can generate control input to the soft actuator from a target trajectory) of soft actuators. First, the ILC controls a soft actuator and iteratively learns the actuator deformability. Subsequently, the FNN is trained to obtain the inverse model of the soft actuator. The control results of the ILC are used as training datasets for supervised learning of the FNN to ensure that it can efficiently acquire the inverse model of the soft actuator, including the deformability and the response delay. Experiments with fiber-reinforced soft bending hydraulic actuators are conducted to evaluate the proposed method. The results show that the ILC can learn and compensate for the actuator deformability. Moreover, the iterative learning-based FNN serves to achieve a precise tracking performance on various generalized trajectories. These facts suggest that the proposed method can contribute to the development of robotic rehabilitation devices with soft actuators and the field of soft robotics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number056016
JournalBioinspiration and Biomimetics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Sept


  • Feed-forward neural network
  • Individual deformability compensation
  • Iterative learning control
  • Soft hydraulic actuator
  • Soft robotics
  • Trajectory tracking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)


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