Continuously Variable Inverse Harmonic Drive

Tech ID: 30198 / UC Case 2019-157-0

Brief Description

A transmission that uses a variable sized drum, a rotating tensioner arm, and a dry adhesive band to create a compact, continuously-variable transmission that behaves like an inside-out harmonic drive.

Background

A currently existing conventional harmonic drive is a type of compact gear box that can create a large gear ratio by rotating a wave generator gear with a flex spline inside of a fixed outer spline. With each rotation, the flex spline moves one tooth along the outer spline, creating a very large gear ratio. A changeable gear ratio and variable transmission would enhance flexibility and device performance.

Description

Researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara have developed a transmission that uses a variable sized drum, a rotating tensioner arm, and a dry adhesive band to create a compact, continuously-variable transmission that behaves like an inside-out harmonic drive. This solves the need for a high gear reduction and continuously variable transmission with one device. This design can fit around the drive motor or in series with it, and allows for the real time adaptation to load, which increases efficiency and flexibility.

Advantages

  • Reduced size and weight
  • Without high precision teeth, can be made of plastic, which reduces cost of production 
  • Without teeth, the drive can slip under an overloaded torque without damage

Applications

  • Robotics  
  • Prosthetics

Patent Status

Patent Pending

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Other Information

Keywords

indadvmat, Advanced Materials, Robotics, Prosthetics, Inverse Harmonic Drive

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