Mechatronic design of the Twente humanoid head

Rob Reilink, Ludo C. Visser, Dannis M. Brouwer, Raffaella Carloni, Stefano Stramigioli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
113 Downloads (Pure)


This paper describes the mechatronic design of the Twente humanoid head, which has been realized in the purpose of having a research platform for human-machine interaction. The design features a fast, four degree of freedom neck, with long range of motion, and a vision system with three degrees of freedom, mimicking the eyes. To achieve fast target tracking, two degrees of freedom in the neck are combined in a differential drive, resulting in a low moving mass and the possibility to use powerful actuators. The performance of the neck has been optimized by minimizing backlash in the mechanisms, and using gravity compensation. The vision system is based on a saliency algorithm that uses the camera images to determine where the humanoid head should look at, i.e. the focus of attention computed according to biological studies. The motion control algorithm receives, as input, the output of the vision algorithm and controls the humanoid head to focus on and follow the target point. The control architecture exploits the redundancy of the system to show human-like motions while looking at a target. The head has a translucent plastic cover, onto which an internal LED system projects the mouth and the eyebrows, realizing human-like facial expressions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-118
Number of pages12
JournalIntelligent service robotics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011


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