Disney’s Clever New Transmission Can Give Robots the Most Delicate of Touches

Disney has engineered a new robotic transmission that allows robotic arms a greater level of sensitivity and precision. These arms combine hydraulic and pneumatic lines and offer virtually no friction, allowing for remarkable levels of control.

Normally, a robot joint would have two hydraulic cylinders, balanced against each other. But Disney researchers differed from the norm, matching each water-filled cylinder with an air-filled cylinder. The pneumatic cylinder acts as a constant force air-spring, providing the required preload force, allowing the joint to move in both directions while cutting the number of hydraulic lines in half. The result is a very soft touch.

>Read more by David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, May 16, 2016  or check it out at Disney Research