|February 2, 2017
J. Mechanisms Robotics
, (2017); doi: 10.1115/1.4035879
Voice coil actuators are simple electro-mechanical devices which are capable of generating linear motion in response to an electrical input. The generic cylindrical design of commercially available actuators imposes a large variety of limitations on the end-user. The most prominent is the requirement to design and fit extra components to the actuator in order to increase functionality. To solve this issue, a novel voice coil actuator was created which reconfigures the standard cylindrical design with one of a rectangular structure. The novel actuator incorporates planar magnets in a modified Halbach array configuration to ensure compactness and an exceptionally intense, uniform magnetic field. The moving coil is substituted with a printed circuit board encompassing numerous current conducting traces. The board contains a miniature linear rail and bearing system, unified drive electronics and highly adaptive position feedback circuitry resulting in a compact, highly dynamic and accurate device. In pursuit of optomechatronic applications, two distinct parallel kinematic mechanisms were developed to utilize the high dynamics and accuracy of the novel actuator. These devices were configured to function in only rotational degrees of freedom and because of their underlying kinematic structures can be referred to as parallel orientation manipulators. In particular, two structures were defined, 2-PSS/U and 3-PSS/S in order to constraint their payloads to two and three degrees of rotational freedom, respectively. The resultant manipulators are highly dynamic, precise and fulfill size, weight and power requirements for many applications such as sense and avoidance and visual tracking.