Design of lightweight lead screw actuators for wearable robotic applications

Kevin W. Hollander, Thomas G. Sugar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


A wearable robot is a controlled and actuated device that is in direct contact with its user. As such, the implied requirements of this device are that it must be portable, lightweight, and most importantly safe. To achieve these goals, an actuator with a good "power to weight" ratio, good mechanical efficiency, good "strength to weight" ratio, and that is safe is desired. The design of the standard lead screw does not normally perform well in any of these categories. The typical lead screw has low pitch angles and large radii, thereby yielding low mechanical efficiencies and heavy weight. However, using the design procedure outlined in this text, both efficiency and weight are improved; thus yielding a lead screw system with performances that rival human muscle. The result of an example problem reveals a feasible lead screw design that has a power to weight ratio of 277 W/kg, approaching that of the dc motor driving it, at 312 W/kg, as well as a mechanical efficiency of 0.74, and a maximum strength to weight ratio of 11.3 kN/kg (1154 kgf/kg).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)644-648
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Mechanical Design - Transactions of the ASME
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


Dive into the research topics of 'Design of lightweight lead screw actuators for wearable robotic applications'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this