A continuously variable transmission system designed for human-robot interfaces
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Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) systems are being used for many applications such as automotive transmissions, robotics, aerospace. In an ideal condition, these systems have the potential to provide continuously varying power transmission within a predefined limit. This transmission is accomplished with the help of friction, belt or gear systems. CVT can find application in a human-robot interface if design criteria such as backdrivability, independent output position and impedance variation, shock absorbing and low mass and inertia can be satisfied. Even if there are various CVT designs in the literature for human-robot interfaces, the primary limitation of the two-cone drive CVT designs is that the output torque and the output position cannot be altered independently. The reason for this problem is that the friction wheel, which is designed to transmit the torque from the input cone to the output cone, gives rise to remarkable longitudinal friction force along the linear way. In order to overcome this problem, a sphere is used in this work for the CVT design as the transmission element. In addition, it is stated in the literature that common CVT drive systems do not have the capability to be used in cyclic bidirectional motion. In the presented CVT design, a second sphere is added to the system with two springs from the lower part of the cones for pre-tension in order to solve the bidirectional transmission problem. In this paper, the working principle and conceptual design details of the novel two-cone CVT drive are presented. Experimental results showed that the novel CVT has the capacity to transmit bidirectional power with some accuracy.