A hand controller provides up to three axes of motion, and all required feel characteristics (stiffness and breakout torques) located inside a hollow handle within the grip of the hand. This is achieved using a miniature gimbal mechanism that allows for independent motion about one, two, or three axes within the grip volume of the hand, and miniature flexure assemblies co-located with the gimbal mechanism that provide substantial stiffness and breakout torques in each axis of motion. Also, miniature sensors can be integrated into the gimbal mechanism, also located within the grip volume of the hand, to provide direct angular position measurement for each axis of motion.

Previous designs either had the pivot axes located outside the grip envelope, or used mechanical linkages to couple the axes of motion to remotely located spring mechanisms and sensors. This proposed design is not susceptible to vibration, shock, or g-loading in any axis, is of the smallest possible size and weight, and is highly reliable.

This work was done by Pablo Bandera and Paul Buchele of Honeywell, Inc. for Johnson Space Center. For further information, contact the JSC Innovation Partnerships Office at (281) 483-3809.

Title to this invention has been waived under the provisions of the National Aeronautics and Space Act {42 U.S.C. 2457(f)} to Honeywell, Inc. Inquiries concerning licenses for its commercial development should be addressed to:

Honeywell, Inc.
P.O. Box 52199
Phoenix, AZ 85072

Refer to MSC-24457-1, volume and number of this NASA Tech Briefs issue, and the page number.

Motion Control Technology Magazine

This article first appeared in the April, 2010 issue of Motion Control Technology Magazine.

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