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Controllable, High Force Amplification Using Elastic Cable Capstans

[+] Author Affiliations
Gray C. Thomas, Clayton C. Gimenez, Erica D. Chin, Andrew P. Carmedelle, Aaron M. Hoover

Olin College of Engineering, Needham, MA

Paper No. DETC2012-71295, pp. 885-889; 5 pages
  • ASME 2012 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 4: 36th Mechanisms and Robotics Conference, Parts A and B
  • Chicago, Illinois, USA, August 12–15, 2012
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4503-5
  • Copyright © 2012 by ASME


This paper presents the design and experimental characterization of a continuously variable linear force amplifier based on the theory of capstans. In contrast to traditional capstan amplifiers, the design presented here uses an elastic cable, enabling a control actuator to not only continuously clutch output to a rotating drum but also passively declutch by releasing tension. Our experimental results demonstrate successful declutching at all force amplification ratios up to the limit of our experimental apparatus, 21 — significantly higher than previously published values. A system of distributed capstan amplifiers driven by a central torque source with cable engagement switched by lightweight, low torque actuators has potential to reduce the mass of distal actuators and enable more dynamic performance in robotic applications.

Copyright © 2012 by ASME
Topics: Cables



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