Safe link mechanism based on nonlinear stiffness for collision safety

Jung Jun Park, Byeong Sang Kim, Jae Bok Song, Hong Seok Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)


A safe robot arm can be achieved by either a passive or active compliance system. A passive compliance system composed of purely mechanical elements often provide faster and more reliable responses for dynamic collision than an active one involving sensors and actuators. Since both positioning accuracy and collision safety are important, a robot arm should exhibit very low stiffness when subjected to a collision force greater than the one causing human injury, but maintain very high stiffness otherwise. To implement these requirements, a novel safe link mechanism (SLM), which consists of linear springs, a double-slider mechanism and shock-absorbing modules, is proposed in this research. The SLM has the advantages of variable stiffness which can be achieved only by passive mechanical elements. Various experiments of static and dynamic collisions showed the high stiffness of the SLM against an external force of less than the critical impact force, but an abrupt drop in the stiffness when the external force exceeds the critical force, thus guaranteeing collision safety. Furthermore, the critical impact force can be set to any value depending on the application.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1332-1348
Number of pages17
JournalMechanism and Machine Theory
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Oct

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Personal Robot Development Project funded by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy of Korea.


  • Nonlinear stiffness
  • Passive compliance
  • Safe robot arm
  • Safety mechanism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications


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