The VSA-Cube is the first affordable, open-source, muscle-like building block for constructing Natural Machine Motion robots.
It is a small and lightweight actuator, unique for its ability to display Natural Machine Motion that resembles the elegance and deftness of human motions. The resulting movement of robots built with VSA-Cubes escapes the stereotypical rigid and mechanical motion of common servo-mechanisms.
A VSA-Cube can present a soft or rigid behavior as required. This feature can be used in many ways, such as, for example, being soft to guarantee safety during an impact, being rigid for reaching positions with better precision, and alternating between soft or rigid for optimizing energy or speed performance. By exploiting this novel characteristic, it can be applied to the execution of tasks that are usually very complex such as grasping or throwing an object, hammering, drawing or playing the drums. These can be achieved by controlling not only the VSA-Cube position (in a similar way that conventional servomotors are usually controlled), but also the stiffness of the VSA-Cube.
Its current main application is its use in the construction of robotic platforms that require Natural Machine Motion behavior such as robotic arms, androids or creatures. The VSA-Cube can be used as an alternative to small conventional servomotors in order to construct any kind of mechanism or robotic system.
Andrea di Basco