Adroit® Manipulator Arm



Adroit and prosthetic arms. The Adroit arm shown above (green tubular sections) has been assembled with 16 Degrees of Freedom (DoF). Ten of these DoF are powered and the remaining six DoF (in the distal finger joints) are driven through differentials. This Adroit arm weighs less than 9 kg, can lift 22 kg, and every joint can move faster than 120° per second. The prosthetic arm (all black) has 17 powered DoF (27 total), weighs less than 5 kg, can lift 22 kg, and is as fast as the Adroit arm.

The Adroit manipulator arm has a unique combination of dexterity, strength, and speed, which nearly matches the capabilities of a human arm. Indeed, the Adroit family of manipulators for commercial and defense applications was derived from the world’s most advanced prosthetic arm, which we developed for DARPA. The key difference is that our Adroit arms are ruggedized, simplified, and priced for robotic operations.

Every single actuator has true force sensing and absolute position sensing, making Adroit arms safe to operate around people, without needing special enclosures. All of the arm’s modular actuators are environmentally sealed and can be assembled together in a limitless variety of configurations. Underwater versions of the arm are also available.

Most commonly, Adroit arms are sold in single and dual arm configurations. There are a range of actuator sizes, torques, and speeds, allowing manipulators to be completely customized for their application, including small arms that only weigh one or two kilograms. Just like the full-sized Adroit arms, these small arms can lift many times their own weight.

All of the control electronics for Adroit manipulators are integral within each actuator. Through a very simple protocol, all Adroit arms can be externally commanded at up to 50 Hz in several modes: position, speed, force, and impedance. Internally, each actuator executes these commands using closed loop control, which runs at 500 Hz. For tele-operation, we provide a ruggedized controller with ten degrees of freedom.

Video of picking up blocksSingle arm manipulator picks up wooden blocks and stacks them, using tele-op control.
video_drillSingle arm manipulator picks up drill, regrasps handle, independently actuates trigger, and makes a hole, all controlled via tele-op.
Video of dual arm system handling concrete blocksDual arm manipulator using a hammer drill to penetrate concrete blocks, then lifting concrete blocks.