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Proceedings Paper

Three-degree-of-freedom flexure-based manipulator for high-resolution spatial micromanipulation
Author(s): John E. Speich; Michael Goldfarb
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Paper Abstract

Flexure-based compliant mechanism design enables the development of revolute joint manipulators without the backlash or Coulomb friction that impede precision position and especially force control. Additionally, due to scaling effects, the adverse consequences of Coulomb friction are exacerbated at small scales. Conventional approaches to compliant mechanism design impose several limitations, however, such as severely limited ranges of motion, poor kinematic behavior, and significant deformation under multi- axis loading. The authors have developed a new type of compliant mechanism that enables the implementation of spatially-loaded revolute joint manipulators with well- behaved kinematic characteristics and without the backlash and stick-slip behavior that would otherwise impede precision control. The primary innovation in the design is the split-tube flexure, a unique small-scale revolute joint that exhibits a considerably larger range of motion and significantly better multi-axis revolute joint characteristics than a conventional flexure. Specifically, the compliant manipulator has an approximately spherical workspace two centimeters in diameter, yet is structurally rigid along non-actuated axes. Data from the small-scale manipulator demonstrates that positioning resolution is limited by digital quantization and sensor noise, and not by more fundamental physical limitations, such as backlash or Coulomb friction.

Paper Details

Date Published: 5 October 1998
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 3519, Microrobotics and Micromanipulation, (5 October 1998); doi: 10.1117/12.325750
Show Author Affiliations
John E. Speich, Vanderbilt Univ. (United States)
Michael Goldfarb, Vanderbilt Univ. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3519:
Microrobotics and Micromanipulation
Armin Sulzmann; Bradley J. Nelson, Editor(s)

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