Variable stiffness mechanisms have a wide range of applications in the field of human-robot interactions such as rehabilitation robotics, prosthesis and industrial robotics due to their ability to comply with the human limb stiffness in an unstructured environment. This paper presents the analysis of a single degree of freedom variable stiffness actuator based on nonlinear force interactions between permanent magnets and its effect on the natural frequency of the system. In the proposed mechanism, variable stiffness is achieved by modifying the separation between magnets. The main goal here is to achieve a desired cutoff frequency by varying the stiffness of the system to filter out the involuntary movement of upper limb during physical human-robot interactions. Moreover, due to the spring-like non-contact force interactions between magnets, this mechanism can prevent the exchange of high impact forces between the robot and human.

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