As modern robotic systems begin to permeate mass productions in consumer and healthcare products, the development of powerful cost-effective compact actuators represents a critical need to deliver commercially viable high performance robotic products. During the last years our team has developed a novel approach in actuator development which overcomes gearing packaging, efficiency and reliability problems of current actuators, paving the way for a new era of low-cost high-performance robotic products that are currently unattainable with existing commercial actuators. Our new actuator assembly, called the Gear Bearing Drive (GBD), uses three components comprising a brushless outrunner motor, two stage planetary gearbox, and novel rolling surfaces — all designed with overlapping functions and common features which interface together to drastically simplify and reduce the size and complexity of the actuator assembly. This unique approach allows embedding the motor within the planetary gearbox and further enables the actuator to operate without any traditional ball bearing, saving significant volume, cost, and manufacturing complexity. The low-cost gearbox combined with the high power output of brushless outrunner motors and typical high efficiencies of planetary gear arrangements results in compact, powerful and cost-effective robotic actuators with the potential to impact a number of industries ranging from consumer products to manufacturing and healthcare. In this paper we present the latest design improvements for the GBD so that we reduce friction and maximize efficiency. We also present a new design software for the GBD that has also been developed to reduce trial and error during the design phase and to speed up the production process.

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