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Applied Bionics and Biomechanics
Volume 3 (2006), Issue 3, Pages 191-197

Pneumatic Artificial Muscles Based on Biomechanical Characteristics of Human Muscles

N. Saga, J. Nagase, and T. Saikawa

Department of Machine Intelligence and System Engineering, Akita Prefectural University, 015-0055 Akita, Japan

Copyright © 2006 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This article reports the pneumatic artificial muscles based on biomechanical characteristics of human muscles. A wearable device and a rehabilitation robot that assist a human muscle should have characteristics similar to those of human muscle. In addition, since the wearable device and the rehabilitation robot should be light, an actuator with a high power to weight ratio is needed. At present, the McKibben type is widely used as an artificial muscle, but in fact its physical model is highly nonlinear. Therefore, an artificial muscle actuator has been developed in which high-strength carbon fibres have been built into the silicone tube. However, its contraction rate is smaller than the actual biological muscles. On the other hand, if an artificial muscle that contracts axially is installed in a robot as compactly as the robot hand, big installing space is required. Therefore, an artificial muscle with a high contraction rate and a tendon-driven system as a compact actuator were developed, respectively. In this study, we report on the basic structure and basic characteristics of two types of actuators.