After a chance meeting at the Home Brew Robotics Club meeting last month, I had the opportunity to spend some time with Dr Ken Salisbury, a life long roboticist and professor at Stanford. I have had the opportunity to spend a few hours with him and he is a wealth of information. Between his work in academia (including research into surgical simulation) he has also started various robotics enterprises like Salisbury Robotics in which he built the gripper in the picture above and worked at Intuitive Surgical.
One of the things he has really influenced me on is the desire to build robots that are influenced by the environment they operate in, by using the brushless motors or more accurately the torque on the joints to improve “Observability”. I will say that this has caused me to look less at maximum torque and more at what Ken calls “Compliant” arms.
Ken has a wonderful lab in a very cool building. I took some pictures of some of the really nice laser cut prototypes in the building. Ken is very interested in the idea of open source robotics, so I am looking forward to talking to him many times in the future. Following are some additional pictures I took while at his lab