Collaborative, easy-to-use robotic manipulators are used in the industry to reduce risks or repetitive actions for operators. However, before collaborative robots can perform tasks close to humans, their design must be intrinsically safe and performant to operate without the need to slow their movements and limit their strength.
Recent discoveries revealed that actuators based on the magnetorheological fluid (MR) technology enable better performance (speed, power, strength and accuracy) for collaborative robotics, while remaining safe. Thanks to their low inertia, the MR actuators allow a reduction of up to three times of the forces when a collision between a human and a robotic arm occurs.
The general objective of the project is to demonstrate the potential of a collaborative serial robotic manipulator with several degrees of freedom having MR actuators for the manufacturing industry. This project will contribute to understand the trade-offs in mechanical design choices that maximize performance, while ensuring safe operation for manufacturing tasks in collaboration with humans.