New Robotics Pioneered by Fluid Power
Tokyo Institute of Technology
2-12-1 Ookayama, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 152-8552, Japan
The history of robotics began with fluid power around 1960, at which time, all robots were driven by pneumatic or hydraulic actuators. Subsequently, in the mid-1980s, electromagnetic motors replaced the mainstay of robot actuators, while fluid-powered robots almost completely disappeared. However, in recent years, by utilizing the unique features of flexibility and lightness of pneumatics and the high power and robustness of hydraulics, several robots with unique characteristics, which cannot be realized with conventional electrical motors, are being developed. The author has developed various types of new fluid power actuators, including pneumatic and hydraulic types, to realize novel robots with unique features. This paper reviews the author’s previous works on fluid power actuators and robots driven by them. Furthermore, it presents prospective robots that can be realized using fluid power.
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