Sensor technology from Cambridge-based Zettlex has been hand-picked for a robotic arm demonstrator to prepare for the future explorations of Mars and other planets.
More advanced robotics are needed to enable more comprehensive samples to be mined in space and brought back for examination, and Zettlex’s new 37mm IncOder plays a key role.
To date, only a very few robotic arms have ever been designed, flown and operated. Planetary surface robots belong to a class of their own in terms of robustness, reliability and precision with tight limits on mass, power and computing capability.
Future space missions will require arms to perform ever more complex activities such as surface drilling, sampling and tests in a wide range of environmental conditions. After careful evaluation, the design team selected the 37mm IncOder as the non-contact angle sensor for the various rotary joints because of its low mass, high accuracy and low power consumption.
Zettlex IncOders are non-contact devices for precision angle measurement. They work like a transformer, using an inductive technique and the company says they are ideally suited to harsh environments – where potentiometers, optical or capacitive devices may prove unreliable.
Zettlex inductive sensors measure position or speed accurately and reliably in harsh environments. Customers are OEMs and system integrators from the industrial, defence, aerospace, motor sport, medical and oil & gas sectors.
The harsh environments in which its sensors thrive include extreme temperatures, shock, vibration, electromagnetic noise, high speeds, liquid immersion, aggressive chemicals or potentially explosive environments.