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How can a single electrical motor control a robot? or even a mechanical arm?

  1. Mar 13, 2012 #1


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    So an electrical motor converts electrical energy to mechanical one. But an electric motor can just produce a single motion in of itself. How come connecting a mechanical arm to it allows a diversity of movements like rotation, verticial and horizontal motions to both directions!?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 13, 2012 #2
    Becuase it's not a single motor that creates the movement. You'll have many motors, linear actuators, servos and sensors all working together.

    It also involves the mucky, horrible world of control systems.
    Controls engineers use computer jargon and witchcraft to magically create a set of signals which creates a well choreographed movement of all the actuators.
  4. Mar 13, 2012 #3
    I'm guessing that with a clever enough set of gears and mechanisms you can make a robot that can preform mechanical movement which can consist of movements in a few directions and speeds using a single motor. Like those toy robots that walk and stuff, of course they have no control system and there movements have to be predetermined.
  5. Mar 13, 2012 #4
    That is a very interesting concept.
  6. Mar 14, 2012 #5


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    *smacks forehead* I realized the answer an hour after making this thread after I saw really tiny motors were possible. :) Thanks.
  7. Mar 15, 2012 #6
    Yep. Hydraulics offer another option for a single-electric-motor design.

    I've seen some truly amazing all-mechanical systems. A good source for inspiration is the book, "Ingenious Mechanisms for Designers and Inventors".
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