In this paper, the concept of underactuated redundancy is presented using a novel spatial two-degrees-of-freedom (2-DoF) gravity-balanced rotational manipulator, composed of movable counterweights. The proposed kinematic arrangement makes it possible to intuitively manipulate a payload undergoing 3-DoF spatial rotations by adding a third rotational axis oriented in the direction of gravity. The static equilibrium equations of the 2-DoF architecture are first described in order to provide the required configuration of the counterweights for a statically balanced mechanism. A method for calibrating the mechanism, which establishes the coefficients of the static equilibrium equations, is also presented. In order to both translate and rotate the payload during manipulation, the rotational manipulator is mounted on an existing translational manipulator. Experimental validations of both systems are presented to demonstrate the intuitive and responsive behavior of the manipulators during physical human–robot interactions.
Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics Open Issues