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Actuators 2016, 5(2), 17; doi:10.3390/act5020017

Development of a New Backdrivable Actuator for Haptic Interfaces and Collaborative Robots

Interactive Robotics Laboratory, French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission, Laboratory of Applied Research on Software Intensive Technologies (CEA, LIST), Gif-sur-Yvette F-91190, France
Mechanical Projects Engineering Group, French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission, Institute for Magnetic Fusion Research (CEA, IRFM), Saint-Paul Lez Durance F-13108, France
Office National d’Etudes et de Recherches Aérospatiales (ONERA, The French Aerospace Lab), Toulouse F-31055, France
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Mathieu Grossard and Micky Rakotondrabe
Received: 31 August 2015 / Revised: 15 April 2016 / Accepted: 31 May 2016 / Published: 9 June 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue High-Resolution Actuators)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [3655 KB, uploaded 9 June 2016]   |  


Industrial robots are most often position controlled and insensitive to external forces. In many robotic applications, however, such as teleoperation, haptics for virtual reality, and collaborative robotics, a close cooperation between humans and robots is required. For such applications, force sensing and control capabilities are required for stable interactions with the operator and environment. The robots must also be backdrivable, i.e., the robot must be able to follow user’s induced movements with the least possible resistance. High force efficiency is also desirable. These requirements are different from the design drivers of traditional industrial robots and call for specific actuators and reducers. Many such devices were proposed in the literature. However, they suffer from several drawbacks, offering either a limited reduction ratio or being complex and bulky. This paper introduces a novel solution to this problem. A new differential cable drive reducer is presented. It is backdrivable, has a high efficiency, and a potentially infinite reduction ratio. A prototype actuator using such a reducer has been developed and integrated on a test bench. The experimental characterization of its performance confirms its theoretical advantages. View Full-Text
Keywords: backdrivable actuator; high reduction ratio; differential cable drive; haptics; collaborative robots backdrivable actuator; high reduction ratio; differential cable drive; haptics; collaborative robots

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Gosselin, F.; Ferlay, F.; Janot, A. Development of a New Backdrivable Actuator for Haptic Interfaces and Collaborative Robots. Actuators 2016, 5, 17.

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