Volume 23 Issue 4/5- Publication Date: 1 April-May 2004
Special Issue on the 8th International Symposium on Experimental Robotics (ISER ’02)
A New Actuation Approach for Human Friendly Robot Design
M. Zinn, B. Roth, Design Division, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University. Stanford, CA 94305, USA O. Khatib and J.K. Salisbury Robotics Laboratory, Department of Computer Science, Stanford University. Stanford, CA 94305, USA

In recent years, many successful robotic manipulator designs have been introduced. However, there remains the challenge of designing a manipulator that possesses the inherent safety characteristics necessary for human-centered robotics. In this paper, we present a new actuation approach that has the requisite characteristics for inherent safety while maintaining the performance expected of modern designs. By drastically reducing the effective impedance of the manipulator while maintaining high-frequency torque capability, we show that the competing design requirements of performance and safety can be successfully integrated into a single manipulation system.

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