Application of Servo Motor: I Was Made for Movin’ You Baby

As we mentioned in the previous article, servomotors are Universal Soldiers in the Motion Army. They are small, strong, and adjustable to almost any environment. So if you see something moving, there might be a servo motion soldier behind it.

 

Let’s review 5 amazing and surprising applications of servo motors that you probably didn’t know about.

RC Toys

Have your children (and husband) watched Cars trilogy for the third time? Here it goes – you already know what they’ll ask for Christmas. A radio-controlled car.

Say goodbye to cozy evenings with Game of Thrones the Witcher show in the living room, cause now it’s nothing more than a car racing track. To be fair, electric cars are a bit better than Lego, as their parts don’t try to hurt your foot at any opportunity. But at the same time, they create endless noise. As in the most of RC toys, it’s brushed servo motors that are used in cars.

In case your gift didn’t survive in the home version of F1, here is a video on how to replace servomotors.

Simsalabim Doors

Do you remember the feeling from childhood when the doors would open in front of you without a touch and you felt like a little magician? Un/fortunately (underline whatever applicable) our world is driven not by magic but by science. Science and technologies. Automated doors are driven by motors. Servomotors and sensors. You see their applciation on every corner: shopping malls, hospitals, business centers, etc.

The idea of automated doors goes back to the AD times, when priests opened heavy doors in the temples using heat. In those times, it was taken as real magic or even the power of Gods.

You can add some magic to your apartment, too. If you are too lazy to open the doors but motivated enough to get rid of this tedious task forever, here is a video on how to make wizard self-opening doors.

High High-Tech Fashion

Yepp, servomotors are not a tool for STEM lovers only. Recent trends proved that you could use small and precisely controlled motion kits even in the clothes design.

Anouk Wipprecht is an iconic Dutch designer who combines tissues and robotic technologies, the thinnest organza and smallest Arduino circuits. Her Spider dress created in 2013 looks like a mild version of another terrifying design concept of Hans Giger. This dress works as an armor: if it detects someone near the carrier, its’ spidery legs repeat the attack position of a real spider.

Anouk Wipprecht believes robotic clothes are a great way to improve human-human interactions. Her designs show if a person is afraid or stressed out. Such a great application for understanding each other better, isn’t it? And for nudging people to start respecting personal space. It would be great to have this dress in public transport during the rush hour.

But if you prefer something more Christmas-y (as opposed to something inspired by Alien), application of servo motors could be a great option to update your Ugly Christmas sweater and make it even uglier unique. Just watch this DIY.

Sushi bar

Have you ever tried to grab some food in Kaiten-sushi restaurant? If your answer is yes, then you should know: it was another encounter with servomotors.

Sushi train was applied for the first time in Japan when Yoshiaki Shiraishi faced an issue with the lack of workforce for his small restaurant. He decided to automate the serving function and integrated in the restaurant a small conveyor belt that delivered sushi straight to the visitor.

A conveyor belt sushi is based on servomotors just like any other conveyor. Servos are small, powerful, and allow almost perfect repeatability of motion, so they are perfect for automation in HoReCa.
Recently, some restaurants upgraded conveyor belt with touchscreen monitors. The menu looks like an aquarium with fish, and when a customer touches some type of fish, the conveyor belt brings it to the table. So yeah, technically it’s just another restaurant with fully automated service.

P.S. If it’s a good idea, why not spread it to other businesses? Here is a video about the first cheese conveyor-belt restaurant in London (why it wasn’t Italians who got this idea first remains a mystery).

Escape Rooms

Idea: Make people pay for being locked in a room and trying to escape as quickly as possible.
Result: Over 8,000 escape rooms in 2017 worldwide. Booming market growth (over the past 4 years by 93%, 148%, 409%, and 43% in the UK ). Escape Room Competitions worldwide.

This kind of leisure time is for all ages. What you should do is turn on all your creativity, knowledge, and make the doors open. Or, to be more precise, make servomotors open it. Almost all interactive animated parts of escape rooms are servo driven.

So if you already thought about starting your own Sherlock escape room, pay attention to small Arduino kits for a simple application of servo motor, encoder, and control circuit.

Auto Focus

This is not about the new spider-eyed IPhone. Servo motors are widely used for autofocus in advanced cameras like Nikon or Canon.

Isn’t it great that even when your hands shake in a hangover dance your photos are still clear and ready for National Geographic Contest? Many thanks to the small servo drive that hides behind the lenses. When the image isn’t sharp enough, the servo gets a command to position the lens mm- precisely so that the object is in focus. But sometimes servo drives don't play for your team.

To sum up

Brushless AC electric motors are extensively used in robotics. They are super accurate, small, and powerful tools of the future.

However, it’s too early to write off their older brushed servo brother. This type of motor is much more affordable and can survive what a gentle brushless motor can’t.

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