We have presented a new actuation concept for human-friendly robot design, referred to as DM2. The new concept of DM2 was demonstrated on a two-degree-of-freedom prototype robot arm that we designed and built to validate our approach. The new actuation approach substantially reduces the impact loads associated with uncontrolled manipulator collision by relocating the major source of actuation effort from the joint to the base of the manipulator. The emerging field of human-centered robotics focuses on application such as medical robotics and service robotics, which require close interaction between robotic manipulation systems and human beings, including direct human-manipulator contact. As a result, this system must consider the requirements of safety. To achieve safety we must employ multiple strategies involving all aspects of manipulator design.