Abstract - Modular bio-mimetic robots that can interact with the world the way we do

  The study of human sensorimotor control and learning through robotic devices requires systems that possess bio-mimetic characteristics that allow them to interact with the world in a similar fashion dynamically (this includes backdrivability, high bandwidth, implementability of complex control algorithms, force feedback, low friction, low inertia, robustness, autonomy, appropriate strength to weight ratio in the case of locomotion, safety, among others). Traditionally, engineered systems have evolved based upon industrial requirements, which are quite different. From the context of studying and mimicking the way humans perform control of their bodies, we state that there are specific groups of characteristics that are essential for use in researching sensorimotor control and learning. Designing robotic systems from this perspective necessitates solving new constrained design challenges that integrate with, adapt, and improve upon known approaches. A new design for a bio-mimetic backdrivable modular robot finger which addresses these challenges is presented. Results are presented demonstrating its effectiveness. The novelty of this robot is not only in the integrative design approach, which meets all the constraints presented without compromise, but also as the first bio-mimetic robot to integrate modularity, and it is highly compact. Additionally, the system has the capacity and bandwidth to run real-time control algorithms that can eventually model human behavior and perform complex manipulation tasks.