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Robots fail to perform complex manipulation or locomotion tasks when using simple force or motion controllers applied to classic actuators. Stability and safety issues arise for reasons such as high output inertia and the non-collocation of sensing and actuating transducers. This paper presents a new actuation concept, integrating a DC motor and two differentially coupled magnetorheological brakes, promising safe and versatile interaction capabilities. This paper focuses on the underlying mechanism and a case study with a proof-of-concept prototype.