Humanoid robot utilises 80 maxon DC servo motors

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A total of 80 maxon DC servo motors are being used in the ECCEROBOT-2, developed by the University of Zurich's Artificial Intelligence Lab, which mimics human physiology in terms of muscle-driven motion.

Officially named ECCEROBOT-2, the innovative robot from the University of Zurich's Artificial Intelligence Lab is built around a solid but flexible skeleton, covered with layers of mechanical tendons and muscle. The 'muscles' mimic those in the robot's human counterparts by using an elastic cord, attached to powerful maxon servo motors, which wind or unwind depending on the direction of rotation. This cord is connected to a marine-strength rubber rope, which emulates the elastic nature of natural muscles. Indeed, with no fewer than 80 maxon DC motors powering the robot's various actuators, it is perhaps unsurprising that ECCEROBOT-2's designers have given it the nickname Max.

The resulting mechanisms are claimed to be the closest that robotics engineers have come to replicating human versatility. However, the humanoid design depends upon extremely precise motors offering high torque in a limited space, and maxon motors were selected for the challenging task of keeping the elastic at exactly the right tension and to work against its natural pull.

In fact, the creators were so impressed with maxon motors that they have decided to use maxon drives, gears and sensors in all humanoid robots that the University of Zurich's AI Lab creates from now on.

Power and precision

Ian Bell, maxon motor uk senior sales engineer, says: "With its bone-like skeleton and mechanical muscles, the ECCEROBOT-2 really does feel incredibly human. The fact that maxon brushed motors are at the heart of every single muscle on the robot just goes to show their incredible power and precision – and to name him 'Max' is really the icing on the cake!

"It is another example of the way maxon motors' unique capabilities are enabling design engineers all over the world to redefine what technology can achieve."

Brushed dc motors like those used to drive the muscles in ECCEROBOT-2 can be found in the maxon catalogue, online at – or customised motors can be designed to order. Contact maxon motor for more information.

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