Robot arm

Abstract

Provided is an improved robot arm which allows the two hands to be brought together in front of the chest. In a robot arm ( 4 ) comprising a shoulder joint ( 11 ) attached to a body ( 3 ) so as to be rotatable around a laterally extending axial line (A 1 ), an upper arm ( 12 ) attached to the shoulder joint ( 11 ) so as to be rotatable around an axial line (A 2 ) perpendicular to the laterally extending axial line, a forearm ( 14 ) attached to the upper arm ( 12 ) via an elbow joint ( 13 ), and a hand ( 15 ) attached to a free end of the forearm, the elbow joint is attached to the upper arm so as to be rotatable around a longitudinal axial line (A 3 ) of the upper arm.

Claims

1 . A robot arm attached to a side of a robot body, comprising: an upper arm having a base end attached a side of a robot body via a shoulder joint so as to be rotatable around a laterally extending first axial line and a second axial line perpendicular to said first axial line; a forearm having a base end attached to a free end of said upper arm via a elbow joint so as to be rotatable around a third axial line extending along the length of the upper arm and a fourth axial line perpendicular to said third axial line; and a hand attached to a free end of said forearm. 2 . A robot arm according to claim 1 , wherein said hand is attached to a free end of said forearm so as to be rotatable around a fifth axial line extending along the length of the forearm. 3 . A robot arm according to claim 2 , wherein said robot consists of a humanoid robot having said arm on each side thereof. 4 . A robot arm according to claim 1 , wherein said shoulder joint comprises a shoulder joint member attached to the side of said robot body so as to be rotatable around the laterally extending first axial line, and said base end of said upper arm is attached to said shoulder joint member so as to be rotatable around said second axial line perpendicular to said first axial line. 5 . A robot arm according to claim 1 , wherein said elbow joint comprises a elbow joint member attached to the free end of said upper arm so as to be rotatable around said third axial line extending along the length of said upper arm, and the base end of said forearm is attached to said elbow joint member so as to be rotatable around said fourth axial line perpendicular to said third axial line.
TECHNICAL FIELD [0001] The present invention relates to a robot arm. BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION [0002] The arm of a conventional humanoid robot is typically attached to the body via a shoulder joint so as to be rotatable both in the fore-and-aft and lateral directions. According to this structure, the two hands can be brought together in front of the chest only by swinging the arms forward and then laterally toward each other. Therefore, the elbows must be kept fully stretched at such a time. [0003] However, when the humanoid robot walks in an upright position (bipedal motion) carrying a relatively heavy object, it is desirable to hold the object as close to the center of the body as possible to minimize the shift in the gravitational center of the robot. However, according to the conventional structure, because the two hands cannot be brought together immediately in front of the chest, the kinds of work which the robot is capable of were limited. BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION [0004] In view of such problems of the prior art, a primary object of the present invention is to provide an improved robot arm which allows the two hands to be brought together in front of the chest. [0005] A second object of the present invention is to provide a robot arm which is capable of holding a relatively heavy object without excessively tipping the balance of the robot. [0006] A third object of the present invention is to provide a robot arm which has an increased freedom of motion. [0007] To achieve such an object, the present invention provides a robot arm attached to a side of a robot body, comprising: an upper arm having a base end attached a side of a robot body via a shoulder joint so as to be rotatable around a laterally extending first axial line and a second axial line perpendicular to said first axial line; a forearm having a base end attached to a free end of said upper arm via a elbow joint so as to be rotatable around a third axial line extending along the length of the upper arm and a fourth axial line perpendicular to said third axial line; and a hand attached to a free end of said forearm. [0008] Thus, the elbow joint can be twisted with respect to the upper arm so that the hands can be brought together in front of the chest. Therefore, the robot is capable of holding a heavy object close to its chest or belly without unduly shifting the gravitational center of the robot. The freedom of motion of the arm is also enhanced. [0009] Furthermore, if the hand is attached to the forearm so as to be rotatable around a longitudinal axial line of the forearm, the freedom of the motion of the arm can be increased even further. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS [0010] Now the present invention is described in the following with reference to the appended drawings, in which: [0011] [0011]FIG. 1 is a front view of a humanoid robot embodying the present invention; [0012] [0012]FIG. 2 is a left side view of the humanoid robot embodying the present invention; [0013] [0013]FIG. 3 is a top view of the humanoid robot embodying the present invention; and [0014] [0014]FIG. 4 is a model diagram for explaining the possible motions of the arm. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS [0015] FIGS. 1 to 3 show the overall external appearance of a humanoid robot embodying the present invention. This robot 1 is modeled after a lower grade primary school child, and comprises a head 2 incorporated with a visual unit and a speech unit, a body 3 supporting a control unit and incorporated with batteries, and two legs 5 each having joints so as be able to move substantially in the same way as human legs. The robot is thus adapted to walk on two feet. [0016] The arm 4 of this robot 1 is described in more detail with reference to FIG. 4. This arm 4 comprises a shoulder joint 11 attached to a body 3 so as to be rotatable around a laterally extending axial line A 1 , an upper arm 12 attached to the shoulder joint 11 so as to be rotatable around a fore-and-aft extending axial line A 2 , an elbow joint 13 attached to the upper arm 12 so as to be rotatable around a longitudinal axial line A 3 of the upper arm 12 , a forearm 14 attached to the elbow joint 13 so as to be rotatable around an axial line A 4 perpendicular to the longitudinal axial line A 3 of the upper arm 12 , and a hand 15 attached to the forearm 14 so as to be rotatable around a longitudinal axial line A 5 of the forearm 14 . [0017] Each of the rotatable parts is incorporated with a rotary actuator powered by an electric motor, for instance. The arm 4 as a whole can be swung in both the fore-and-aft and lateral directions around the shoulder joint 11 . The forearm 14 can be bent relative to the upper arm 12 via the elbow joint 13 , and can also be twisted relative to the upper arm 12 . Thus, both the upper am 12 and forearm 14 are capable of a twisting motion, and the arm can effect a desired motion by combining these motions. [0018] For instance, the robot can shake a hand by swinging the forearm 14 forward around the elbow joint 13 with the upper arm 12 hanging down with respect to the body 3 and by twisting the forearm 14 so as to face the palm of the hand 15 inward. By twisting the forearm 14 from this state until the palm of the hand 15 faces upward or downward, the robot can be brought to positions for receiving or grabbing an object. [0019] By swinging up the upper arms 12 of each arm 4 from the position for shaking a hand and inwardly twisting the upper arm 12 , the forearm 14 can be brought together in front of the chest. By appropriately adjusting the angle of the upper arm 12 with respect to the shoulder joint 11 and the angle between the upper arm 12 and forearms 14 at the elbow joint 13 , the robot can take the positions for praying and receiving an object with both hands in front of the chest. [0020] Thus, according to the present invention, because the humanoid robot can bring the two hands together in front of the chest, the range of the work that can be done by the robot can be expanded, and the robot can be made to move substantially in the same way as a human. [0021] Although the present invention has been described in terms of a preferred embodiment thereof, it is obvious to a person skilled in the art that various alterations and modifications are possible without departing from the scope of the present invention which is set forth in the appended claims.

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Cited By (7)

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    CN-102152298-AAugust 17, 2011株式会社安川电机Robot system and method of manufacturing product
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    US-2011185556-A1August 04, 2011Kabushiki Kaisha Yaskawa DenkiRobot system, robot, and method of manufacturing product
    US-2014039675-A1February 06, 2014Nimer Mohammed EadInstructional humanoid robot apparatus and a method thereof
    US-7778731-B2August 17, 2010Honda Motor Co., LtdLegged mobile robot control system
    US-7877165-B2January 25, 2011Honda Motor Co., Ltd.Handshake legged mobile robot control system