An Introduction to the Robotic Arm

Written by edna jackson
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An Introduction to the Robotic Arm
Robotic arms have many functions. (arm image by Gintautas Velykis from

Robotic arms are mechanically controlled devices designed to replicate the movement of a human arm. The devices are used for lifting heavy objects and carrying out tasks that require extreme concentration and expert accuracy. The robotic arm most often is used for industrial and nonindustrial purposes.


Various types of robotic arm are available. Each type has its own specifications. For example, the number of joints in the arm varies. The direction in which the joints rotate varies also. Some of the most common types of robotic arm include vertically articulated, selective compliant assembly, polar, Cartesian, cylindrical and parallel.

Industrial Usage

Robotic arms are used in various industries. The devices are useful especially in transporting large objects from one place to another, for example on building sites. The machines also are used in situations where toxic fumes could be dangerous to humans, such as the application of paints or varnishes. Robotic arms often are used in factories to assemble dangerous equipment.

Nonindustrial Usage

Robotic arms are used in the medical profession to carry out certain precise operations. The arms also are useful in the collection of specimens in contaminated areas. NASA has been known to use robotic arms to hold astronauts in place and to assemble space equipment. Robotic arms have become useful in many applications. In the future, the devices could be used to replace lost limbs. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has been working on a replica human arm that reacts to messages from the central nervous system. The robotic arm is an invention that could potentially change lives.

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