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Mechatronics for a new robot generation

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1 Author(s)
Hirzinger, G. ; German Aerosp. Res. Establ., Wessling, Germany

The paper outlines the DLR's mechatronic developments in the robotics area over the last five years. They aim at designing a new multisensory, modularly configurable lightweight robot generation in a unified and integral way. A first step in this direction has been the development of a complex multisensory gripper. It turned out to be a key element in ROTEX, the first real robot in space that flew with shuttle Columbia in early 1993. Sensors and actuators in DLR's new ultra-lightweight robot show up miniaturized integration of mechanics, electronics, and microprocessor control. Joint torque control based on inductive sensing is realized in the compact, highly reducing rotational gearings. With optimized carbon-fiber grid structures, optical high-speed information transfer between the joints and all power and signal electronics integrated into the arm, a new extremely lightweight type of robot arises. Joint control concepts are outlined and a 7 degree-of-freedom version of such a lightweight arm is described. The paper also outlines the concept of the artificial muscle and its use in the fingers of a new modular articulated robot hand. Sensor-based man-machine interfaces and automatic camera guidance by robots in minimal invasive surgery are other topics covered in the paper.

Published in:

Mechatronics, IEEE/ASME Transactions on  (Volume:1 ,  Issue: 2 )