ICRA 2011 Paper Abstract


Paper WeA207.1

Grebenstein, Markus (German Aerospace Center (DLR)), Albu-Schäffer, Alin (DLR - German Aerospace Center), Bahls, Thomas (German Aerospace Center), Chalon, Maxime (German Aerospace Center (DLR)), Eiberger, Oliver (DLR - German Aerospace Center), Friedl, Werner (Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics, German AerospaceCenter (), Gruber, Robin (Deutsches Zentrum f. Luft- und Raumfahrt), Haddadin, Sami (German Aerospace Center (DLR)), Hagn, Ulrich (DLR German Aerospace Center), Haslinger, Robert (DLR - German Aerospace Center), Hoeppner, Hannes (DLR - German Aerospace Center), Joerg, Stefan (German Aerospace Center (DLR e.V.)), Mathias, German Aerospace Center (DLR e.V.) (137617), Alexander, DLR, German Aerospace Center (132460), Florian, German Aerospace Center (DLR) (142605), Joseph, German Aerospace Center (DLR) (122388), Nikolaus, German Aerospace Center (105088), Thomas, German Aerospace Center (DLR) (114235), Sebastian, DLR - German Aerospace Center (135723), Tilo, DLR (101777), Gerd, German Aerospace Center (DLR) ()

The DLR Hand Arm System

Scheduled for presentation during the Regular Sessions "Biologically-Inspired Robots V" (WeA207), Wednesday, May 11, 2011, 10:05−10:20, Room 5B

2011 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, May 9-13, 2011, Shanghai International Conference Center, Shanghai, China

This information is tentative and subject to change. Compiled on July 5, 2020

Keywords Biologically-Inspired Robots, Humanoid Robots, Compliant Joint/Mechanism


An anthropomorphic hand arm system using variable stiffness actuation has been developed at DLR. It is aimed to reach its human archetype regarding size, weight and performance. The main focus of our development is put on robustness, dynamic performance and dexterity. Therefore, a paradigm change from impedance controlled, but mechanically stiff joints to robots using intrinsic variable compliance joints is carried out.

Collisions of the rigid joint robot at high speeds with stiff objects induce the energy too fast for an active controller to prevent damages. In contrast, passively compliant robots are able to temporarily store energy. In this case the resulting internal forces applied to the robot structure and the drive trains are reduced. Furthermore, the energy storage allows to outperform the dynamics of stiff robots.

The hand drives and the electronics are completely integrated within the forearm. Extremely miniaturized electronics have been developed to drive the 52 motors of the system and interface their sensors. Several variable stiffness actuation principles used in the arm joints and the hand are presented. The paper highlights the different requirements that they have to fulfill. A first test of the systems robustness and dynamics has been performed by driving nails with a grasped hammer and is demonstrated in the attached video.



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