Spherical joints have evolved into a critical component of many robotic systems, often used to provide dexterity at the wrist of a manipulator. In this work, a novel 3 degree of freedom spherical joint is proposed, actuated by tendons that run along the surface of the sphere. The joint is mechanically simple and avoids mechanical singularities. The kinematics and mechanics of the joint are modeled and used to develop both open- and closed-loop control systems. Simulated and experimental assessment of the joint performance demonstrates that it can be successfully controlled in 3 degrees of freedom. It is expected that the joint will be a useful option in the development of emerging robotic applications, particularly those requiring miniaturization.

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