IEEE Spectrum brings to attention these robot arms created by Disney Research. Although their purpose is to allow puppeteers to "remotely control mechanical characters without the use of motors," the fascinating thing is that by using low-friction passive fluid actuators, the arms lose much of the weight associated with robotic limbs.
[...] engineers at Disney Research have come up with an ingenious way of making robot arms that are low mass but high speed. Instead of conventional motors, their arm uses what’s called a fluid transmission. It consists of tubes filled with air or water that connect antagonistic actuators. The result is a system that’s passively safe and compliant and lightweight and backdriveable and backlash free and... Well, it goes on. This thing is cool.
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