MECHANICAL DESIGN OF DEXTEROUS MANIPULATOR LINKS
Carlsen, Christopher James
Akin, David L
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This paper explores the challenges of dense structure-electronics packaging, specifically for a structural and electronics upgrade to the Ranger Tele-robotic Shuttle Experiment (RTSX) manipulators at the University of Maryland (UMD). Long serial-link manipulators are popular in the space industry, where the need for a long reach and high manipulability outweighs the need for high tip stiffness. For larger systems with co-located electronics, such as those used to berth vehicles on orbit, electronics packaging is not inhibited by the diameter of the link body. As link diameter decreases, co-locating electronics in the manipulator becomes diffcult without adding external extensions to house them. In such densely packed bodies, the control electronics are so integrated with structure that electronics maintenance requires disassembly of primary structure.