Robot hands have been utilized in bilateral tele-operation as mechanical interfaces. As mechanisms of robot hands, wire mechanisms and rod mechanisms have been developed. Wire mechanisms have a flexibility of allocation of actuators and the fingertips of the robot hand. The demerit of wire mechanisms is that they do not transmit position and force accurately. On the other hand, rod mechanisms are useful for transmitting position and force accurately. The disadvantage of rod mechanisms is that they restrict allocation of actuators and the fingertips of the robot hand. Therefore, the flexible actuator has been developed for having merits of both wire mechanisms and rod mechanisms. In the flexible actuator, the thrust wire transmits position and force from actuators to the fingertips of the robot hand. This paper verifies position and force transfer characteristics of the thrust wire. Moreover, as one of the application of the flexible actuator, the experimental results of a bilateral teleoperation system with the flexible actuator is shown. It is confirmed that the flexible actuator has the merits of both wire mechanisms and rod mechanisms when the flexible actuator is applied to the bilateral teleoperation system.
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