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Direct Drive Robotic Arms

Drawing of Direct Drive Arm I, 1983

Courtesy of University Archives

Dr. Kanade’s first major development in Robotics research at Carnegie Mellon was the design of the world’s first Direct Drive Arm [10pp]. Direct Drive Robotic Arms are currently the best method of design for mechanical arms, due to the removal of transmission mechanisms between the motors and loads. rather than using reducers and chain belts which produce uneven movements. The result is an arm that can move freely and smoothly, allowing for high speed precision robots. Design of the arm was completed in 1981, and successful patent was obtained a few years later.

With the success of the Direct Drive Arm I [7pp], work began on an improved design. This improvement allowed increased control, a wider range of manipulation, and an increase in payload. This new arm, called Direct Drive Arm II [6pp], featured an electric six-degree of freedom movement, direct drive joints, and a minimum payload. Both arms [8pp] were technological breakthroughs in robotic mechanics, and eventually led to Direct Drive Arm II being placed in the former Computer Museum in Boston in the late 1980s.

 


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J. Dustin Williams, University/Heinz Archivist, Carnegie Mellon University
http://diva.library.cmu.edu/Kanade/kanadearm.html

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