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RE2 develops intelligent mobile robotic arms for use in a variety of complex environments for the aviation, construction, defense, energy, and medical industries. Originally engineered for the rugged requirements of the U.S. military, our robotic arms have evolved into a family of systems called RE2 Sapien. RE2 Sapien arms provide human-like capabilities beyond traditional industrial arms and cooperative robot

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POSTED 04/24/2020


In the world of mobile robotics, you can do three things:
1) Move through the world
2) Perceive the world
3) Interact with the world
A mobile chassis can maneuver through its environment. Cameras and sensors can enable a robot to perceive the world. But in order to interact with its surroundings, the robot must be equipped with manipulators and end effectors.

In this paper, we discuss why our dual-arm Highly Dexterous Manipulation System (HDMS) presents an unmatched level of innovation and control in the field of robotics.

We also discuss the capabilities and applications of dual-arm mobile robots, the importance of interoperability as a requirement for today’s mobile systems, and the numerous applications that dual-arm systems can efficiently and effectively perform.

This eBook is part one in a four-part series on Mobile Manipulation.

What is HDMS?
One of the main benefits of a RE2’s dual-arm robot is its dexterity. The HDMS is available in multiple configurations, including 11, 15 or 16 degrees of freedom (DoF) that meet or exceed the dexterity of a human arm.

The system is extremely flexible and configurable, allowing for both the dexterous manipulation and precision placement of objects, essentially serving as an extension of the human who is controlling it. Because each arm operates independently via RE2’s proprietary Imitative Controller, tasks that would be difficult or even impossible for a single-arm robot to complete can be easily accomplished with the HDMS. For instance, a two-arm robot can pull items apart, remove the cap from a bottle, lift heavier weights with two arms, and brace itself with one arm while performing tasks with the other — even under harsh conditions.

When it comes to interacting with the world, the proven benefits of RE2 Robotics’ two-arm Highly Dexterous Manipulation System (HDMS) are unparalleled. While a single-arm robot can be advantageous for specific tasks, a two-armed system provides military and civilian users with agile, human-like control over their environment — especially when it comes to dull, dirty and dangerous missions.

Features of HDMS
The HDMS features dual robotic manipulator arms and a moveable humanoid torso that can be easily mounted onto a variety of third-party robotic platforms. The system’s ability to mimic human interaction provides numerous benefits for military, civilian and
industrial users.


Features include:
• Power-dense: Our 11-DoF system weighs less than 40 pounds, but can lift more than 120 pounds.
• Power-efficient: Runs off of standard DC voltages, drawing minimal current.
• Highly reliable through the use of proven, commercial off-the-shelf components.
• Intuitive control using RE2’s Imitative Controller technology, which provides instinctive and easy-to-use command of the system.
• Compatible with open architecture that allows the system to be mounted onto any JAUS or ROS-based robotic platform.
• Compatible with Advance Explosive Ordnance Disposal Robotic System (AEODRS) architecture.
• Compatible with the U.S. Army’s Interoperability Profiles (IOP), which allows the system’s end effectors to be reconfigured through hot swappable payloads.

Technical Overview
The HDMS is designed with two identical arms to ensure modularity, simplify development, gain economy of scale, and aid in ease of repair. The system can be configured as 11 DoF, 15 DoF, and 16 DoF systems. HDMS’ human-like dexterity allows a user to quickly and efficiently perform a variety of complex and dangerous tasks from a safe and remote distance.

HDMS Configurations

  • 11 DoF: Includes two 5-DoF arms (shoulder yaw, shoulder pitch, shoulder roll, elbow pitch, and wrist roll).
  • 15 DoF: Includes two 7-DoF arms (shoulder yaw, shoulder pitch, shoulder roll, elbow pitch, elbow roll, wrist pitch, and wrist roll) plus a 1-DoF torso pitch.
  • 16 DoF: Includes two 7-DoF arms plus a 2-DoF torso (pitch and yaw).
  • High strength-to-weight ratios
  • Accepts a Variety of Payloads

The 11-DoF HDMS system weighs under 40 pounds, but can lift 120 pounds—nearly triple its body weight. Moreover, the robot is specifically designed to minimize power consumption during heavy lifting. This is accomplished by maximizing the use of strong
joints, thereby reducing the number of joints that are used to perform a given task.

Because HDMS has more payload ports than a single-arm system, users can add extra payloads, such as cameras, imaging sensors, navigation and communication systems. The ability to configure HDMS with a variety of payloads from different manufacturers further
enhances the usability of the system.

Quick & Efficient Technology
HDMS is an extremely modular system. It is vehicle independent and can be easily integrated onto a variety of mobile robotic platforms. HDMS is also end-effector independent. It features the Company’s Quick Release technology, which allows end effectors at the end of a robotic arm to be quickly and effortlessly changed — a vital benefit when users are operating under harsh conditions in the field. Quick Release technology allows users to easily swap out tools that are catered to specific tasks. This makes the system incredibly efficient and versatile as well as forward-looking, since future capabilities can be quickly integrated.

Effective Intuitive Control
Traditional methods that control each joint of a manipulator independently, such as dial and switch controllers or gaming controllers, are not practical for effectively and efficiently controlling highly dexterous manipulators. Add in a second arm and traditional control methods become obsolete. Control of HDMS is achieved using RE2’s Imitative Controller technology, which provides highly intuitive command of dual-arm manipulation systems. Instinctive and easy to use, the Imitative Controller is essentially a “puppet master,” allowing the user to move a scaled model of the robot’s manipulators. Imitative Controller technology is extremely intuitive. Through numerous demonstrations and training exercises, we have determined that training time for new users is typically less than one minute, and time to proficiency is estimated at one hour.



Invaluable Control During Military Operations
Robotic systems for explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) operations typically include a single manipulator to perform critical tasks such as the inspection, detection, and neutralization of explosive devices. These manipulators are often limited in their dexterity, reach and lifting capacity. For instance, if an EOD team encounters an IED inside a bag, a single-arm robot would need to use force to open the bag and explore its contents, making detonation more likely. A dual-arm robot, on the other hand, would be able to unzip the bag and
remove its contents more gently, preserving evidence and reducing risk to military personnel. Moreover, EOD missions are typically conducted by technicians wearing blast suits that can weigh nearly 100 pounds. These suits are difficult to move in and may even induce heat stress. HDMS decreases these concerns by allowing soldiers to execute dangerous missions and neutralize threats from a safe, considerable distance, preserving the evidence and, most importantly, human life.

Diving Beyond UGVs
Unfortunately, the devastating effects of IEDs are not limited to ground warfare. EOD divers are often placed in harm’s way while performing the underwater location and identification of IEDs on vessels, bridges and piers. As such, in addition to the detection
and disposal of IEDs on the ground, RE2 is developing both electromechanical and inflatable Underwater Dual Manipulator systems for the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Research (ONR). In effect, RE2 is now adapting its ground-based electromechanical manipulation technology for use in a marine environment. RE2 is developing underwater systems that are lightweight, low-cost and easily deployable
in the field as a payload for Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs). Ultimately, these underwater manipulator arms will be used as a collaborative robotic system to assist EOD divers in dismantling IEDs and other hazards.

Looking Ahead

In addition to EOD, the HDMS may eventually be used for other missions, such as Combat Engineering and Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) operations. Moreover, there is potential for HDMS to be used in commercial industries that require remote operation for dangerous tasks, such as hazardous materials handling, or offshore and surface oil and gas inspection. Overall, the potential applications for the HDMS are limitless.

RE2 Robotics remains committed to creating state-of-the-art robotic technologies and focused on developing products that can save human lives. Whether used for military operations, industrial tasks or commercial applications, our innovative dual-arm Highly Dexterous Manipulation System (HDMS) presents an unmatched level of human-like control in the field of robotics.

A Publication of RE2 Robotics
4925 Harrison Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15201
Tel: 412.681.6382
Email: [email protected]