Workload-Sharing Robotic Limbs Act As Third and Fourth Arms


Researchers at the d'Arbeloff Laboratory for Information Systems and Technology at MIT are developing robotic limbs that, when worn, augment limbs already in place. The Supernumerary Robotic Limb (SRL) system is worn through a backpack-like harness that features two robotic arms. The SLR monitors two inertial measurement units (IMUs) worn on the user's wrists. A third IMU is at the base of the robot's shoulder mount, to track the overall orientation and motion of the SRL. Based on a model created by demonstration learning, the limbs can predict the helpful arm position. The custom actuators developed for the SRL are compact, lightweight, and satisfy the demanding torque requirements of the target manufacturing applications. All joints are controlled by DC brushless motors of the flat type.