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Design and Biomechanical Analysis of Supernumerary Robotic Limbs

[+] Author Affiliations
Clark Davenport, Federico Parietti, H. Harry Asada

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

Paper No. DSCC2012-MOVIC2012-8790, pp. 787-793; 7 pages
  • ASME 2012 5th Annual Dynamic Systems and Control Conference joint with the JSME 2012 11th Motion and Vibration Conference
  • Volume 1: Adaptive Control; Advanced Vehicle Propulsion Systems; Aerospace Systems; Autonomous Systems; Battery Modeling; Biochemical Systems; Control Over Networks; Control Systems Design; Cooperative and Decentralized Control; Dynamic System Modeling; Dynamical Modeling and Diagnostics in Biomedical Systems; Dynamics and Control in Medicine and Biology; Estimation and Fault Detection; Estimation and Fault Detection for Vehicle Applications; Fluid Power Systems; Human Assistive Systems and Wearable Robots; Human-in-the-Loop Systems; Intelligent Transportation Systems; Learning Control
  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA, October 17–19, 2012
  • Conference Sponsors: Dynamic Systems and Control Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4529-5
  • Copyright © 2012 by ASME


A new type of wearable robot that provides a third and fourth arm for performing manipulative tasks with the wearer’s own arms is presented. These Supernumerary Robotic Limbs (SRL) work so closely with the human that he/she can potentially perceive them to be his/her own. The SRL consist of two independently acting robotic limbs that can function as either arms or legs to help the user position objects, lift weights, and maintain balance. These wearable robots are aimed to augment not only the strength and the precision of the human users, but also their range of skills and interactions with the environment. The guiding principles of the robotic design are safety, transparency and user comfort. Series viscoelastic actuators provide suitable joint torques while ensuring compliance and robust torque sensing. A Bowden cable transmission actuates the elbow joint, minimizing the robotic arms’ weight. A tuned elastic human-robot coupling ensures wearability and comfort. To quantify the mechanical advantage the SRL offers to the operator during use, joint torques generated in the human while performing static manipulation tasks have been reconstructed experimentally.

Copyright © 2012 by ASME



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