The flexibility of the drives and structures of controlled motion systems are presented as an obstacle to be overcome in the design of high performance motion systems, particularly manipulator arms. The task and the measure of performance to be applied determine the technology appropriate to overcome this obstacle. Included in the technologies proposed are control algorithms (feedback and feedforward), passive damping enhancement, operational strategies, and structural design. Modeling of the distributed, nonlinear system is difficult, and alternative approaches are discussed. The author presents personal perspectives on the history, status and future directions in this area.

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