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Title: Electrostatic brakes enable individual joint control of underactuated, highly articulated robots

Highly articulated organisms serve as blueprints for incredibly dexterous mechanisms, but building similarly capable robotic counterparts has been hindered by the difficulties of developing electromechanical actuators with both the high strength and compactness of biological muscle. We develop a stackable electrostatic brake that has comparable specific tension and weight to that of muscles and integrate it into a robotic joint. High degree-of-freedom mechanisms composed of such electrostatic brake enabled joints can then employ established control algorithms to achieve hybrid motor-brake actuated dexterous manipulation. Specifically, our joint design enables a ten degree-of-freedom robot equipped with only one motor to manipulate multiple objects simultaneously. We also show that the use of brakes allows a two-fingered robot to perform in-hand re-positioning of an object 45% more quickly and with 53% lower positioning error than without brakes. Relative to fully actuated robots, robots equipped with such electrostatic brakes will have lower weight, volume, and power consumption yet retain the ability to reach arbitrary joint configurations.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
SAGE Publications
Date Published:
Journal Name:
The International Journal of Robotics Research
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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