In an attempt to make a robot that is:
- safe for all users - easy to maintain - highly flexible - is robust to a lot of abuse
my company Svenzva Robotics developed a robot arm that utilizes steel tendons to drive its motion, rather than motors. In fact the robot requires no electricity and is actuated only by phyiscally moving controllers that tension and relax the cables that drive the robot.
One name for this type of robot is ‘Continuum’ since its range of motion is more or less continuous across its actuation points (vertebrae). It was developed into a children’s museum exhibit where the user would manipulate foam basketballs into hoops, giving children a unique hands-on experience with robotics.
All aspects of the design and fabrication took place in-house. Each ‘vertebrae’ of the arm was a multi-step machining operation from HDPE to make it as rigid as possible, without making the arm heavy.