A compact 3-DOF shoulder mechanism constructed with scissors linkages for exoskeleton applications

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A novel 3-degrees-of-freedom (DOF) spherical mechanism, singularity-free in the anatomical shoulder joint workspace, is described. The use of curved scissors linkages interconnected by revolute joints, whose axes share the same remote centre-of-motion, achieves the most compact design of its kind. The kinematics of this scissors shoulder mechanism (SSM) are derived and presented. A design equation restricting the linkage’s curvature by the central/pitch angle of the fully stretched scissors is obtained. Motion-captured data are used for validating the reachable 3-d workspace while a test-subject is wearing a null protraction/retraction constrained exoskeleton. The embodiment of the SSM as a shoulder joint for an exoskeleton device does not compromise the upper extremity function within the anatomical reachable 3-d workspace. It operates within a volume of 0.236 m3, corresponding to 68.09% and 94.97% of the volumes of the full active (0.350 m3) and null protraction/retraction constrained active (0.223 m3) reachable workspaces of the test-subject, respectively. Thus, the SSM represents a simplification of a spatial spherical mechanism design and overcomes the need for the use of redundant links and optimization routines.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMechanism and Machine Theory
Pages (from-to)264-278
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019


  • Compact shoulder mechanism
  • Exoskeleton
  • Kinematics
  • Reachable workspace
  • Scissors linkages
  • Scissors spherical mechanism


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