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Compact, Long-Reach Robotic Arm
NASA"s Langley Research Center is developing a robotic arm with lightweight joints that provide a wide range of motion. The arm is the Machinery/Automation/Robotics Category Winner of the 2015 "Create the Future" Design Contest. The envisioned design provides users with a long reach and numerous degrees of freedom. The arm, ideal for use in aquatic environments or for manipulation of light terrestrial loads, consists of articulating booms connected by antagonistic cable tension elements. The arm elements are structurally efficient and lightweight, and support compact packaging. The inherent mechanical advantage provided by the tendon articulation allows the use of small, efficient motor systems. The manipulator can be scaled over a large range - from 10m (load-bearing arm) to over 1000m (submersible or float-supported arm). Current efforts are focusing on a 15m prototype and a 300m subsystem to test the unique robotic architecture.
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