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RBE PhD Speaking Qualifier: Fanxing Meng | Low-cost anthropomorphic arm for humanoids


Various images of robots at Robotics Engineering WPI alt
WPI Robotics Engineering
Friday, January 15, 2021
10:00 am to 11:00 am


Fanxing Meng

Low-cost anthropomorphic arm for humanoids


Friday, January 15, 2021

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Virtual | Zoom: Please contact student for link,


Abstract:  Humanoid may be the best candidate for an all-purpose domestic service robot, but existing ones are either too weak to handle commodities or too strong and dangerous to humans nearby. This ongoing work aims at building a humanoid robot that is just strong enough to do most routine housework and not cause physical danger to people. For the purpose of marketability, the cost of the robot should be kept as low as possible. The current stage focuses on building an anthropomorphic arm that is about 1/3 as strong as an average person and costs around $1,000. To achieve the required performance, the arm uses hydro-muscles for pivoting joints and stepper motors for inline rotation joints. The outcome is promising: most pivoting joints have payload capacities of 3kg at maximum reach, whereas upper and forearm rotation joints have payload capacities of 2kg and 1kg, respectively. The result implies that the same approach can be used on legs, torso, and eventually a complete humanoid.

Ph.D. Advisor:                      

Professor Michael Gennert, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)

Ph.D. Qualifier Evaluators:

Professor Marko Popovic, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)

Professor Lenore Rasmussen, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) | Ras Labs, Inc.