Supernmerary 3DOF Robotic Arm
Photo credit: Université de Sherbrooke
This isn’t a movie prop, but rather a real waist-mounted robotic arm developed by researchers at the Université de Sherbrooke in Canada. Think of it as a hydraulic, remote-controlled supernumerary robotic arm, complete with 3 degrees of freedom, actuated by magnetorheological clutches and hydrostatic transmissions to mimic a real human arm. Read more for a video and additional information.

The robotic arm weighs in at slightly over 8.8-pounds, can lift 11-pounds, and has a maximum end effector speed of 7.6 mph. In the future, sensors could enable the arm to perform more delicate tasks, like picking vegetables or soft fruits.

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But, for now, it is still not too bad having this arm on my hips, since it’s only 4.2 kg (without payload) and it is located near my center of mass (to reduce inertia). I get used to it quickly, and I can compensate for some of the movements (x, y, and z translational movements), but I still have some remaining issues to compensate for torsion movements (like if the arm is hitting a tennis ball with a racket), which is funny,” said Catherine Véronneau, lead author, to IEEE Spectrum

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