Special Issue "Variable Stiffness Physical Interaction in Robotic Devices and Machines"

A special issue of Machines (ISSN 2075-1702). This special issue belongs to the section "Automation and Control Systems".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 December 2023 | Viewed by 1693

Special Issue Editors

Department of Engineering for Innovation Medicine, Section of Engineering and Physics, University of Verona, 37134 Verona, Italy
Interests: mechanics of machines; compliant mechanisms; soft-mechatronics; variable stiffness actuators; force/torque sensors; cable-driven mechanisms; multibody dynamics; bio-mechanics; micro-mechanisms; micro electro-mechanical systems; energy-harvesting; robotics; surgical robotics; haptics; teleoperation; surgical robotic tools; sustainable design; mechanical intelligence; legged robots; exoskeletons
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Department of Mechanical, Energy and Management Engineering, Università della Calabria, 87036 Rende, Italy
Interests: robotics; robot design; mechatronics; walking hexapod; design procedure; mechanics of machinery; leg–wheel
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Variable stiffness in physical interactions is a common feature in nature (i.e., tree–branch connections in flora, cartilage–bone connections in fauna), in our daily lives (i.e., hand–phone interaction while grasping; foot–ground interaction while walking), in our machines (e.g., human–robot interaction and wheel–ground interaction in our automobiles), and structures (e.g., electric cable–pylon connections). Therefore, it is fundamental to understand the behavior of the variable stiffness in physical interactions, from both hardware and software point of views, to develop innovative robotic devices and machines for daily use.

In this Special Issue, we would like to explore the variable stiffness in physical connections and interactions from a mechanical and control point of view. To this end, we welcome the submission of papers presenting new challenges in the control, design, and development of compliant machines, novel compliant mechanisms and systems, new robots and devices, and many other architectures and artefacts.

This Special Issue is open (but not limited) to the following topics:

  • Compliant mechanisms;
  • Biomechanics;
  • Parallel mechanisms;
  • Parallel manipulators;
  • Micromachines;
  • Cable-driven systems;
  • Tendon-driven systems;
  • Soft robotics;
  • Machine design;
  • Control systems;
  • Flexure hinges;
  • Variable stiffness systems.

Dr. Giovanni Gerardo Muscolo
Prof. Dr. Giuseppe Carbone
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Machines is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • compliant mechanisms
  • parallel mechanisms
  • parallel manipulators
  • micro-machines
  • cable-driven systems
  • tendon-driven systems
  • soft robotics
  • machine design
  • control systems
  • flexure hinges
  • variable stiffness systems

Published Papers (1 paper)

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23 pages, 5713 KiB  
A New Cable-Driven Model for Under-Actuated Force–Torque Sensitive Mechanisms
Machines 2023, 11(6), 617; https://doi.org/10.3390/machines11060617 - 03 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1058
Force–torque sensors are used in many and different domains (i.e., space, medicine, biology, etc.). Design solutions of force–torque sensors can be conceived by using many types of connections or components; however, there are only a few sensors designed using cable-driven systems. This could [...] Read more.
Force–torque sensors are used in many and different domains (i.e., space, medicine, biology, etc.). Design solutions of force–torque sensors can be conceived by using many types of connections or components; however, there are only a few sensors designed using cable-driven systems. This could be related to many reasons, one of which being that cables are able only to pull and not push. In this paper, a new cable-driven model for under-actuated force–torque sensing mechanisms is proposed, simulated, and tested, underlining the novelty of using cables for force–torque sensing. Analytical formulations, simulations, and physical implementations are presented in this paper. Results confirm that the new proposed model can be used for force–torque sensing mechanisms in micro- and macro- applications where under-actuation is a fundamental requirement, as in robotic surgery. The proposed model and mechanism can be used in the design of sensors and actuators. The innovative model is validated with two different test benches, opening new challenges in the design and development of under-actuated force–torque transducers. Full article
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