Faculty Advisor

Marko Popovic


The Hydro Muscle is a soft linear actuator which utilizes hydraulic pressure and elastic properties of its core for actuation. The Hydro Muscle has been recruited to actuate bio-inspired robot systems using a classic set point tracking feedback control system. A more efficient method is to develop a model-based control system which uses a dynamic model of the Hydro Muscle. The dynamic behavior of the Hydro Muscle which describes the relation between the forces exerted to the resultant motion can be studied with the help of a dynamic viscoelastic model. A dynamic viscoelastic model defines the force exerted by the Hydro Muscle as a function of the hydraulic pressure, the tensile expansion of the Hydro Muscle and the rate of its tensile expansion. Multivariable linear regression is employed to generate a model to relate fluid pressure, tensile expansion, and the rate of tensile expansion to the force exerted by the Hydro Muscle. The developed model can be utilized to implement a model-based control algorithm for the force control of individual joints. This model-based control design could be extended to systems involving multiple Hydro Muscles to allow for a modular control system. The design and test of multi-fiber Hydro Muscle actuated biologically inspired ankle is considered to study control strategies for multi-fiber system. A set-point tracking control algorithm with a proportional differential controller is used to minimize the tracking error. Modular force variation with sequential recruitment of Hydro Muscle is studied.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Robotics Engineering

Project Type


Date Accepted





viscoelastic model, multi-fiber, Hydro Muscle, model-based design