Aimed at achieving ultrahigh control performance for high-end applications of harmonic drives, an adaptive control algorithm using additional sensing, namely, the joint and motor positions and the joint torque, and their practically available time derivatives, is proposed. The proposed adaptive controller compensates the large friction associated with harmonic drives, while incorporating the dynamics of flexspline. The L2L stability and the L2 gain-induced H stability are guaranteed in both joint torque and joint position control modes. Conditions for achieving asymptotic stability are also given. The proposed joint controller can be efficiently incorporated into any robot motion control system based on either its torque control interface or the virtual decomposition control approach. Experimental results demonstrated in both the time and frequency domains confirm the superior control performance achieved not only in individual joint motion, but also in coordinated motion of an entire robot manipulator.

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