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High-accuracy small 6-axis industrial robot arm Meca500 by Ilian Bonev + video

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Meca500 is an affordable (US$15,000), precision six-axis robotic arm for industrial and laboratory automation, as well as research and education. It is by far the most compact and accurate collaborative robot (cobot). Indeed, the robot's controller is embedded in its base and the manipulator combines precision machined aluminum links with harmonic drive gearheads and brushless DC motors. This desktop robotic arm comes with intuitive programming and simulation software, and allows hand guiding. Meca500 can be easily interfaced through an Ethernet connection and used with ROS.

1Q: Why does the robot twist when inserting/removing the pins?
1A: Meca500 comes with a highly compact two-finger parallel gripper that is actuated by the robot's sixth motor. With this gripper, the robot has only five DOFs and is best at manipulating axisymmetric objects. For example, it can insert a pin in any hole within the robot's workspace. However, it cannot control the rotation of the pin about the pin's axis of symmetry. If you wish to use all six DOFs of the robot, you need to purchase a gripper from a third party (e.g., from Festo or Schunk).

2Q: Can I put Meca500 on a mobile platform?
2A: Yes. Meca500 weighs only 4.5 kg. It requires a 24 V power supply and consumes no more than 200 W.

3Q: How much does Meca500 cost and is it already commercially available?
3A: We are currently improving the model seen in this video. The commercial model will be available by the end of this year and will cost US$15,000.

4Q: What is the repeatability of Meca500?
4A: It's better than 5 micrometers (https://youtu.be/RBV6mrYEK38).

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