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Free, publiclyaccessible full text available July 30, 2025

Emerging wearable, assistive, and mobile robots seek to interact with the environment and/or humans in a compliant, dynamic, and adaptable way. Springs are critical to achieving this objective, but the associated increase in volume, mass, and complexity is limiting their application and impact in this rapidly developing field. This article presents a novel rotary spring architecture that is both lightweight and compact. Our twopart spring consists of radiallyspaced cantilever beams that interface with an internal, gearlike camshaft. We present the concept and equations governing their mechanics and design. To facilitate broad adoption, we introduce an opensource design tool, which enables the design of custom springs in minutes instead of hours or days. We also empirically demonstrate our design with four test springs and validate the achievement of target spring rates and deflections. Finally, we present several redesigns of existing springs in the robotics literature to demonstrate the wide applicability of our spring architecture.more » « lessFree, publiclyaccessible full text available June 1, 2025

Natural dynamics, nonlinear optimization, and, more recently, convex optimization are available methods for stiffness design of energyefficient series elastic actuators. Natural dynamics and general nonlinear optimization only work for a limited set of load kinetics and kinematics, cannot guarantee convergence to a global optimum, or depend on initial conditions to the numerical solver. Convex programs alleviate these limitations and allow a global solution in polynomial time, which is useful when the space of optimization variables grows (e.g., when designing optimal nonlinear springs or codesigning spring, controller, and reference trajectories). Our previous work introduced the stiffness design of series elastic actuators via convex optimization when the transmission dynamics are negligible, which is an assumption that applies mostly in theory or when the actuator uses a direct or quasidirect drive. In this work, we extend our analysis to include friction at the transmission. Coulomb friction at the transmission results in a nonconvex expression for the energy dissipated as heat, but we illustrate a convex approximation for stiffness design. We experimentally validated our framework using a series elastic actuator with specifications similar to the knee joint of the Open Source Leg, an opensource robotic kneeankle prosthesis.more » « less

null (Ed.)In this work, we introduce a novel approach to assistive exoskeleton (or powered orthosis) control which avoids needing task and gait phase information. Our approach is based on directly designing the Hamiltonian dynamics of the target closedloop behavior, shaping the energy of the human and the robot. Relative to previous energy shaping controllers for assistive exoskeletons, we introduce ground reaction force and torque information into the target behavior definition, reformulate the kinematics so as to avoid explicit matching conditions due to underactuation, and avoid the need to switch between swing and stance energy shapes. Our controller introduces new states into the target Hamiltonian energy that represent a virtual second leg that is connected to the physical leg using virtual springs. The impulse the human imparts to the physical leg is amplified and applied to the virtual leg, but the ground reaction force acts only on the physical leg. A state transformation allows the proposed control to be available using only encoders, an IMU, and ground reaction force sensors. We prove that this controller is stable and passive when acted on by the ground reaction force and demonstrate the controller's strength amplifying behavior in a simulation. A linear analysis based on small signal assumptions allows us to explain the relationship between our tuning parameters and the frequency domain amplification bandwidth.more » « less

Abstract Gravitational lensing by massive objects along the line of sight to the source causes distortions to gravitational wave (GW) signals; such distortions may reveal information about fundamental physics, cosmology, and astrophysics. In this work, we have extended the search for lensing signatures to all binary black hole events from the third observing run of the LIGOVirgo network. We search for repeated signals from strong lensing by (1) performing targeted searches for subthreshold signals, (2) calculating the degree of overlap among the intrinsic parameters and sky location of pairs of signals, (3) comparing the similarities of the spectrograms among pairs of signals, and (4) performing dualsignal Bayesian analysis that takes into account selection effects and astrophysical knowledge. We also search for distortions to the gravitational waveform caused by (1) frequencyindependent phase shifts in strongly lensed images, and (2) frequencydependent modulation of the amplitude and phase due to point masses. None of these searches yields significant evidence for lensing. Finally, we use the nondetection of GW lensing to constrain the lensing rate based on the latest mergerrate estimates and the fraction of dark matter composed of compact objects.
Free, publiclyaccessible full text available July 31, 2025 
Abstract We report the observation of a coalescing compact binary with component masses 2.5–4.5
M _{⊙}and 1.2–2.0M _{⊙}(all measurements quoted at the 90% credible level). The gravitationalwave signal GW230529_181500 was observed during the fourth observing run of the LIGO–Virgo–KAGRA detector network on 2023 May 29 by the LIGO Livingston observatory. The primary component of the source has a mass less than 5M _{⊙}at 99% credibility. We cannot definitively determine from gravitationalwave data alone whether either component of the source is a neutron star or a black hole. However, given existing estimates of the maximum neutron star mass, we find the most probable interpretation of the source to be the coalescence of a neutron star with a black hole that has a mass between the most massive neutron stars and the least massive black holes observed in the Galaxy. We provisionally estimate a merger rate density of for compact binary coalescences with properties similar to the source of GW230529_181500; assuming that the source is a neutron star–black hole merger, GW230529_181500like sources may make up the majority of neutron star–black hole coalescences. The discovery of this system implies an increase in the expected rate of neutron star–black hole mergers with electromagnetic counterparts and provides further evidence for compact objects existing within the purported lower mass gap. ${55}_{47}^{+127}\phantom{\rule{0.25em}{0ex}}{\mathrm{Gpc}}^{3}\phantom{\rule{0.25em}{0ex}}{\mathrm{yr}}^{1}$Free, publiclyaccessible full text available July 26, 2025