Israeli engineers have created a new version of the manipulator MASR, which is able to move not only in horizontal plane, but also to change the height. The manipulator consists of a set of identical passive segments lined up, and the block that moves them and rotates them to the desired angle. With this design, the manipulator has a large work area, but it uses only three motors, say the authors of the article in the IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters.
As a rule, if a robot or manipulator has a bending limb, it is made of several individual segments, and between them there is at least one motor. Even if the segments are controlled by tension cables or air supply in an inflatable chamber, they still are controlled by separate actuators, albeit made outside the limb. This approach allows you to make quick movements simultaneously in multiple segments, but it requires a large number of actuators and energy.
In 2017 a group of engineers from the University of Ben-Gurion under the direction of David Sarroca (David Zarrouk) has developed an alternative design of manipulators with many degrees of freedom in the horizontal plane and requires only two engines. Now they introduced a second version of development which can move vertically. The basic design has remained the same: the manipulator consists of a series of segments that can rotate relative to each other, and driving on them is a movable block.
The segments are interconnected via a worm gearwheel is located on the end of one segment and the worm at the beginning and the other on the shaft on the sides wearing two gears. They need to the movable block to turn the segments on the right corner. Also now the segments are coupled via aluminum hinges that allow the manipulator to SAG even under the weight of the movable unit.