Robots are great tools for automating labor intensive processes, thereby saving a lot of time and resources while also preventing life threatening accidents.
However, while most robots can take care of regular jobs, they aren’t able to handle more intricate actions owing to the limitations in handling things.
This is because the various systems used to control their limbs are limited in themselves. These include three major types of systems, which are teleprescence, hydraulic and pneumatic.
The teleprescence systems use mechanics gears, cables and linkages to operate the limbs. While they are great for operating machinery without external power, they suffer from poor feedback and control.
Hydraulics is a more advanced system that uses external power to offer great control and feedback, however they too aren’t ideal since the lines that make up the system are too thick and can become unresponsive during power cuts.
Pneumatics are possibly the best of the lot in terms of feedback and control, however their lack of handling and precision in doing their job takes them down a notch too.
Now, researchers from Disney have come up with a hybrid system, that combines various elements of the existing systems to fill in the gaps and create a truly humanlike robot, when it comes to movements of the limbs.
To make this system work, the researchers used a combination of hydraulic and pneumatic lines to open and close the joints. This helps moderate the movements and make them a lot more fluid.
In addition to the fluidity, the system also improves on the flexibility since the systems isn’t as heavy as a standalone hydraulic system would be.
The combination of the flexible and fluid moments, combined with the reduction of weight also reduces the friction between the components which makes the overall activity a lot more human like.
Since the pneumatic lines also have the ability to bleed quickly, it also reduces the chances of the machine getting stuck during power cuts, thus highlighting the security aspect as well.
Future robots that would use this type of hybrid system are therefore expected to be far more superior in terms of handling and movements than any current generation models.