R2poweR: The Proof-of-Concept of a Backdrivable, High-Ratio Gearbox for Human-Robot Collaboration

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paper

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Robotic engineers face today major challenges to solve the complex actuation needs of Human-Robot Collaboration using existing compact robotic gearboxes. Available technologies comprise high-ratio Planetary Gearheads, Cycloid Drives and Harmonic Drives, inherited from conventional industrial robotics. Alternative approaches include Direct-Drive and Quasi Direct-Drive actuation strategies, which propose to cancel or substantially reduce gear ratio, in order to minimize reflected inertia and attain the backdrivability required for collaborative tasks.

This paper presents the proof-of-concept validation of a novel high-ratio, Wolfrom-based, gearbox technology that follows a different approach to attain the same objective. Testing five different gearbox prototypes, we confirm the ability of the R2poweR technology to improve efficiency and backdrivability while retaining the weight and control advantages derived from the use of high reduction ratios. The result is a highly efficient, backdrivable, high-ratio gearbox with an exciting potential in Human-Robot Collaboration.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2022 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, ICRA 2022
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-7281-9681-7
ISBN (Print)978-1-7281-9682-4
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jul 2022
Event2022 IEEE international conference on robotics and automation - Philadelphia, Philadelphia, United States
Duration: 23 May 202227 May 2022

Publication series

NameProceedings - IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation
ISSN (Print)1050-4729


Conference2022 IEEE international conference on robotics and automation
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
All authors are with the Robotics & Multibody Mechanics group of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Brussels, 1050 Belgium. Bram Vanderborght is affiliated with IMEC (Leuven, 3001 Belgium), all other authors are affiliated with Flanders Make (Leuven, 3001 Belgium). Corresponding Author: Pablo Lopez Garcia +32 499741816; plopezga@vub.be ? Research supported by the INNOVIRIS Foundation of the city of Brussels, Grant Nr. 2020-POC-03.

Funding Information:
Stein Crispel, Elias Saerens and Tom Verstraten are all funded by the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO). Stein Crispel and Elias Saerens as SB PhD Fellows and Tom Verstraten as a Postdoctoral Fellow.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 IEEE.

Copyright 2022 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Robotics
  • Gearboxes
  • Backdrivability


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