Compliant mechanisms have the potential to increase the performance of haptic interfaces by reducing the friction and inertia felt by the user. The net result is that the user feels the dynamic forces of the virtual environment, without feeling the dynamics of the haptic interface. This “transparency” typically comes at a cost — compliant mechanisms exhibit a return-to-zero behavior that must be compensated in software. This paper presents a step toward improving the situation by using statically balanced compliant mechanisms (SBCMs), which are compliant devices that do not exhibit the return-to-zero behavior typical with most compliant mechanisms. The design and construction of a prototype haptic device based on SBCMs is presented, along with its mathematical model derived using the pseudo-rigid body model (PRBM) approach. Experimental results indicate that SBCMs effectively eliminate the return-to-zero behavior and are a feasible design element in haptic interfaces.

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