Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Applications of the NIST RoboCrane



Roger V. Bostelman, James S. Albus, Nicholas G. Dagalakis, Adam S. Jacoff, J Gross


The Robot Systems Division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has recently been experimenting with a variety of applications for the NIST ROBOCRANE. The ROBOCRANE design utilizes the basic idea of the Stewart Platform parallel link manipulator. The unique feature of the NIST approach is to use cables as the parallel links and to use winches as the actuators. Depending on what is suspended from its work platform, the ROBOCRANE has land, air, water, and space applications. A 2-meter version and a 6-meter version of the ROBOCRANE have been built and critical performance characteristics analyzed. Through these and other conceptual models, example applications for ROBOCRANE are: flexible-structure mobility, heavy material handling, and flexible fixturing on land; rescue and personnel/ equipment maneuverability in air; subsea pipe-laying/removal, lifting, and salvage from stable or unstable references on water; and lightweight, long distance lunar rover capabilites in space. All applications of ROBOCRANE include a large work volume, six degree-of-freedom control, precision maneuverability, and enhanced crane capabilities. This paper describes ROBOCRANE's present and future performance measurements, control system designs, and the conceptual designs for a multitude of applications.
Proceedings Title
Proceedings of the 5th International Symposium on Robotics and Manufacturing
Conference Dates
August 14-18, 1994
Conference Location
Maui, HI
Conference Title
5th International Symposium on Robotics and Manufacturing


flexible, parallel-links, robot crane, six degree-of-freedom, Stewart-Platform


Bostelman, R. , Albus, J. , Dagalakis, N. , Jacoff, A. and Gross, J. (1994), Applications of the NIST RoboCrane, Proceedings of the 5th International Symposium on Robotics and Manufacturing, Maui, HI, [online], (Accessed May 30, 2024)


If you have any questions about this publication or are having problems accessing it, please contact

Created August 18, 1994, Updated February 17, 2017