2022 journal article
A Permanent Magnet Synchronous Spherical Motor for High-Mobility Servo-Actuation
The development of direct-drive spherical motors offers a potential solution to the limitations of conventional multiple degree-of-freedom (DOF) actuators, which typically utilize single-DOF joints (rotational and/or prismatic), arranged in series or parallel and powered by multiple single-DOF actuators. These configurations can be accompanied by kinematic singularities, backlash, limited power density and efficiency, and computationally expensive inverse kinematics. This paper details the design, fabrication and experimental testing of permanent magnet synchronous spherical motors (PMSSM) for multi-DOF servo-actuation. Its stator-pole arrangement is based on a Goldberg polyhedron, with each pole comprised of hexagonal or pentagonal inner and outer plates. The stator geometry and winding configurations are optimized using electromagnetic finite element analysis. A custom-made controller board includes a microcontroller, servo drivers, a wireless serial interface, and a USB PC interface. Angular orientation is sensed using an inertial measurement unit in wireless communication with the microcontroller. A PID controller is implemented and demonstrated for time-varying reference trajectories.