In this paper, we investigate the design of pennate topology fluidic artificial muscle bundles under spatial and operating constraints. Soft fluidic actuators are of great interest to roboticists and engineers due to their potential for inherent compliance and safe human-robot interaction. McKibben fluidic artificial muscles (FAMs) are soft fluidic actuators that are especially attractive due to their high force-to-weight ratio, inherent flexibility, relatively inexpensive construction, and muscle-like force-contraction behavior. Observations of natural muscles of equivalent cross-sectional area have indicated that muscles with a pennate fiber configuration can achieve higher output forces as compared to the parallel configuration due to larger physiological cross-sectional area (PCSA). However, this is not universally true because the contraction and rotation behavior of individual actuator units (fibers) are both key factors contributing to situations where bipennate muscle configurations are advantageous as compared to parallel muscle configurations. This paper analytically explores a design case for pennate topology artificial muscle bundles that maximize fiber radius. The findings can provide insights on optimizing artificial muscle topologies under spatial constraints. Furthermore, the study can be extended to evaluate muscle topology implications on work capacity and efficiency for tracking a desired dynamic motion.

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