An Introduction To Series Elastic Actuators For A Robot

Perhaps one of the most interesting YouTube channels to follow right now is [James Bruton’s]┬áchannel for XRobots.co.uk — he’s a prop maker, a toy maker — and as his site implies, a robotics guru. Put them altogether and watch him make some of your childhood dream projects come true. He’s currently working on a real-life robot creation of Ultron, and he’s messing around with Series Elastic Actuators right now.

In an earlier part of the project, he built a small robotic arm to demonstrate the motion capture suit he’s going to use to control Ultron (if all goes according to plan he’ll have a walking robot following his every move!). He showed how the┬ábasic RC servo motor driven arm works, and how it probably wouldn’t be the best to scale up since it has no external feedback — if he has a full size Ultron robot swinging its arms around, someone could get hurt.

Which led him to designing his own prototype Series Elastic Actuators using an Arduino, potentiometers, some elastics, and a geared DC motor.

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