Supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 51675124).
Pneumatic muscles with similar characteristics to biological muscles have been widely used in robots, and thus are promising drivers for frog inspired robots. However, the application and nonlinearity of the pneumatic system limit the advance. On the basis of the swimming mechanism of the frog, a frog-inspired robot based on pneumatic muscles is developed. To realize the independent tasks by the robot, a pneumatic system with internal chambers, micro air pump, and valves is implemented. The micro pump is used to maintain the pressure difference between the source and exhaust chambers. The pneumatic muscles are controlled by high-speed switch valves which can reduce the robot cost, volume, and mass. A dynamic model of the pneumatic system is established for the simulation to estimate the system, including the chamber, muscle, and pneumatic circuit models. The robot design is verified by the robot swimming experiments and the dynamic model is verified through the experiments and simulations of the pneumatic system. The simulation results are compared to analyze the functions of the source pressure, internal volume of the muscle, and circuit flow rate which is proved the main factor that limits the response of muscle pressure. The proposed research provides the application of the pneumatic muscles in the frog inspired robot and the pneumatic model to study muscle controller.