A Kinematic Coupling Mechanism With Binary Electromagnetic Actuators for High-Precision Positioning

Matteo Russo, Jorge Barrientos-Diez, Dragos Axinte

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Rather than working in a continuous range of motion, binary actuators can only maintain two positions. This lack of flexibility is compensated by high accuracy, repeatability, and reliability. These features make binary-actuated mechanisms appealing for space exploration systems, repetitive pick and place tasks, and biomedical applications. This article introduces a novel class of binary-actuated mechanisms driven by electromagnets. As these systems rely on the extreme positions of their binary actuators for positioning, the proposed design aims to increase repeatability with a kinematic coupling. By inverting the polarity of its electromagnets, the configuration of the mechanism can be changed from a discrete state to another one. Thus, when the actuation is known, the pose of the system can be accurately computed without any external feedback. A sensorless design simplifies both the control and the architecture of the proposed design, as well as reducing manufacturing and maintenance costs. The conceptual design of the proposed class of mechanisms is described through two examples with three and four configurations, and alternative designs with higher mobility are discussed. Then, a kinematic synthesis procedure is discussed. Finally, the advantages of asymmetric and irregular designs are outlined. Overall, the proposed mechanisms are suited to a wide range of applications that require a rapid, accurate, and interchangeable positioning of sensors and tools.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)892-903
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Actuators
  • Binary actuators
  • Couplings
  • Electromagnets
  • Kinematics
  • Manipulators
  • Mechatronics
  • Modular robots
  • Robot control
  • Sensors
  • Task analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'A Kinematic Coupling Mechanism With Binary Electromagnetic Actuators for High-Precision Positioning'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this