Skip to main content
Success Story | 2 minute read

Accelerating the Development of Next-Generation Prostheses and Exoskeletons

Humotech was founded in 2015 on one simple question: Instead of building prototype after prototype, what if engineers could evaluate the design of prostheses, orthotics, exoskeletons and other wearable machine concepts by programming a robot to emulate them in real time while a user walked?

Challenge

The Humotech Caplex™ testbed platform is a modular system used throughout the U.S, Canada and Europe in single-axis and multi-axis applications that aim to optimize biomechanical motion in wearable robots for people of widely varying needs and body types. Given the broad scope of applications, high-performance, versatile motion is essential.

Caplex systems precisely activate multiple Bowden cables to stabllize motion across multiple degrees of freedom in response to unpredictable human movements. Actuation is controlled by up to five servo motors, and units can be daisy-chained together to accommodate all the axes any application may require. Forces are high, rapid bursts of velocity are required, and servo loops must respond within milliseconds. Only the highest-performing servo motors and drives would suffice.

The first Caplex systems used motors from a Kollmorgen competitor, but Humotech wanted to achieve higher performance, lower acoustic and electrical noise, and more responsive control.

“Users of the Caplex system require upwards of 100 Nm applied very precisely and rapidly, with torque/speed response within milliseconds, to replicate human motion in prosthetic and exoskeleton applications. Kollmorgen has enabled us to exceed expectations with our actuator units thanks to the AKM and AKD products. We’re grateful for the opportunity to work together.”
—Josh Caputo, President & CEO, Humotech

Solution

In collaboration with a Kollmorgen solution partner, Humotech selected AKD servo drives and AKM servo motors for integration into its wheeled, floor-standing Caplex units. A high-performance EtherCAT field bus is used for communication within Caplex systems and between daisychained units that provide as many as 10 or more axes of motion.

With the torque, speed and versatility of Kollmorgen servo motion, modular Caplex systems can easily be tailored to the needs of each project — including healthcare, rehabilitation, defense, consumer sports, wellness, healthy aging and other applications — with minimal custom engineering.

Image 1

Results

The servo performance is impressive, exceeding expectations. AKM servo motors deliver up to 2,420 rpm and 125 Nm torque, driving a maximum cable speed of 4.3 m/s and maximum cable force of 6.58 kN.

Kollmorgen AKD drives receive commands from an external controller hundreds or thousands of times per second based on a desired joint response, and the AKM motors respond with the appropriate speed and torque faster than the human nervous system can achieve. Actuators are quiet, efficient, easy to use, reliable and safe.

Caplex systems have been proven in more than 8 years of operation, and Humotech continues to refine and expand the system to serve more customers and applications.

Image 2

Featured Products

AKM servo motors offer outstanding torque density and precision in the industry’s largest selection of standard servo motors and modifications for an ideal application fit.

AKD servo drives offer industry-leading performance, communication options and power levels in a compact footprint.

Image 3

About Kollmorgen

Kollmorgen, a Regal Rexnord Brand, has more than 100 years of motion experience, proven in the industry’s highest-performing, most reliable motors, drives, AGV control solutions and automation platforms. We deliver breakthrough solutions that are unmatched in performance, reliability and ease of use, giving machine builders an irrefutable marketplace advantage.

Download as PDF

Humanoid Robots

Motors for Humanoid Robots: Solve issues of performance, size, weight, power consumption and cost with motion systems designed to be robot-ready.
Learn More

AKMA Servo Motors

The lightweight AKMA servo motor is designed for harsh environments like food and beverage processing, and delivers performance and reliability.
Learn More

Engineer the Exceptional

Learn how to engineer exceptional machines, robots and vehicles with the highest-performing, most reliable motors, drives, automation solutions and more.

Learn More

Related Resources

3 Tips to Accelerate Humanoids from Concept to Prototype to Production  >

Humanoid robots are projected to become a $6+ billion opportunity within the next 10 to 15 years.1 Many labs, research entities and startup companies have taken notice, and are rushing to develop concepts and prototypes ahead of the competition. But…

Build a Better Humanoid With Lightweight, Torque-Dense, Robot-Ready Motion  >

In a short time, humanoid robots have progressed from science fiction to a $6+ billion opportunity. Learn how to succeed in this exponentially growing market by solving motion challenges far beyond the requirements of conventional industrial robots.

Humanoid Robots: From Design to Delivery >

Humanoid robots promise to make life and work better for millions of people. But creating a design that performs tasks with human-like dexterity and superhuman endurance, then bringing it successfully to market, means solving multiple design…

Compact, Efficient Motion Powers a Submersible Robot for In-Service Inspection of Fuel Storage Tanks >

Kollmorgen has helped many companies in a variety of industries increase performance, quality, throughput, and reduce costs. Read about our partners' successes here.

Kollmorgen and Stereotaxis Advance the Precision and Safety of Surgical Robots >

Kollmorgen’s advanced motion products and expertise are helping save and improve lives. Learn how the new Genesis surgical robot incorporates torque-dense AKM servo motors with specialized, integrated encoders to revolutionize cardiac ablation…
Direct Drive Technology Increases the Speed and Quality of Electric Vehicle Lithium-Ion Battery Production

Direct Drive Technology Increases the Speed and Quality of Electric Vehicle Lithium-Ion Battery Production  >

One important stage in manufacturing lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles is seal-welding the positive-terminal top cap to the battery shell. Laser welding is the ideal technology for this purpose, but it requires precise motion, speed and…
Kollmorgen Express Delivery significantly shortens lead times for the company’s most popular motion products

Kollmorgen Express Delivery significantly shortens lead times for the company’s most popular motion products >

Motion leader Kollmorgen announces a new classification for select products that can be delivered within an accelerated timeframe.
Kollmorgen’s low-temperature servo technology simplifies cleaning of solar energy heliostats

Kollmorgen’s low-temperature servo technology simplifies cleaning of solar energy heliostats >

The development of photovoltaic and thermal solar energy—along with China’s rapidly growing capacity to manufacture them—has opened many new opportunities for sustainable energy production in international markets. At the same time, the demand for…

For next-generation surgical robots, minimize the axial length of your robotic joints >

What if you could design and build a surgical robot that help doctors perform less invasive, more precise operations and achieve better patient outcomes? While the results of any surgery depend on the challenges of the specific case and the skill of…