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Twisted String Actuation: State of the Art, Challenges and New Applications

Half-day Workshop @ IROS 2016

October 10th, 14:00-18:00, Room: #301


A twisted string actuator (TSA) is a light, compliant and cheap mechanical actuator, where a string connected to an electric motor acts as a gear. When a load is attached to the string on the other end, the rotation imposed on the string by the motor will reduce the length of the string, thus causing the translational motion of the load due to the generated pulling force. Advantages of TSAs include low weight and price, quiet operation, intrinsic compliance and flexibility. Because of these benefits, TSAs are finding increased applications in various areas of engineering, which include medical robotics and orthoses, exoskeletons and wearable devices, high-accuracy positioning stages and mechanisms, variable stiffness joints and actuators, space robotics, and many others.

The main target of this workshop is to present the current state of the art and the future trends in modeling, control and applications in the area of twisted string-based actuators and transmission mechanisms. The workshop also aims to instigate knowledge sharing inside the engineering and research communities and to outline main future directions and issues of the novel mechanisms.

This event will bring together researchers working on twisted string actuation, engineers from industry and scientists with experience in the areas of mechanism design and compliant and flexible actuators. One of the principle outcomes of the workshop is to assist in making novel twisted string-based devices and technologies more suitable for various applications in industry and daily life. The workshop also aims at strengthening collaboration between research groups working in this field around the world, at attracting interest from the engineering community towards the emerging transmission technology of twisted string actuation, and hopefully this event will bring with it new and exciting collaboration and funding opportunities.

Topics of interest of the Workshop

Research issues in twisted string actuators:


Twisted string actuators and transmission technology:

Intended Audience

The targeted audience of this workshop is engineers and researchers working in the areas of actuators and mechanism design and implementation, bio-inspired design, humanoid robots, design of lightweight actuators and transmissions, and also in the area of assistive, rehabilitation and medical robotics, as well as the general public interested in learning about the recent progress in the field of compliant and flexible transmission technologies.

The workshop will introduce novel transmission mechanisms and techniques based on twisted strings and will familiarize the audience with the background, state-of-the-art research, recent advances and current challenges in the area, thus boosting the progress in the field.


We are happy to announce that all 25 minute presentation slots are filled.

Even if you are not one of the scheduled speakers, you can take advantage of the opportunity to share an overview of your work in the form of a single-slide presentation during the 'Works-in-progress presentation session'.

The organizers are looking into the possibility of displaying posters at the workshop venue, in which case a special announcement will appear on this webpage.


Time Description
14:00 - 14:15 Welcome address by the Organizers
14:15 - 14:40 Michael Stevens, SRI International

"Twisted String Actuators for Exosuits"

14:40 -15:05 Kyung-Soo Kim, KAIST

"A Dual-mode Twisting Actuation Mechanism and its Application to a Robotic Hand"

15:05 - 15:30 Igor Gaponov, Korea University of Technology and Education

"Twisted String Actuators: Life Cycle, Twisting inside Bowden Cables, and Bidirectional Actuation" (Slides)

15:30 - 15:40 Works-in-progress presentation session
15:40 - 16:00 Coffee break and demos
16:00 - 16:25 Takahiro Inoue and Shinichi Hirai, Okayama Prefectural University

"Antagonistically-twisted Elastic Round-belt Actuation Systems"

16:25 - 16:50 Gianluca Palli, University of Bologna

"Stiffness Variability and Friction Effects on Twisted String Actuation" (slides)

16:50 - 17:15 Ivan Godler, Twist Drive Technologies, Inc.

"Twisted Strings Based Robotic Hand and Eyes" (slides)

17:15 - 17:40 Gunter Niemeyer, Disney Research

"Robotic Muscles from Conductive Nylon Sewing Thread"

17:40 - 18:00 Closing address and panel discussion

Invited talks will be 25 min long (20 min talk + 5 min questions)