Q: Must the robot be ‘Home’ before being controlled in Cartesian mode?

A: Technically, you could switch to Cartesian control mode at any valid Cartesian position. If you’re already in Cartesian control mode, you’re guaranteed to have your robot stay in a valid Cartesian position.

Q: What is a valid Cartesian position for a Kinova robot?

A: A valid position is not too close to a singularity, not too close for self-collision, not too close to an angle limit, and not in a protected zone (mainly used by assistive users).

Q: Are Kinova robotic arms safe?

A: In order to ensure that our robotic arms empower humans above all else, we design with safety in mind. The arms are active compliant due to torque sensors in each joint, meaning each arm can stop and correct itself mid-movement.

What’s the difference between a traditional wrist and a spherical wrist on a robotic arm?The spherical wrist allows you to decouple the translation and rotation parts of the inverse kinematics solution. The traditional wrist, on the other hand, has no pinch point.

Q: What do I do if the fingers don’t seem to open or close?

A: Please check for the following possible causes:

  • Fingers not initialized
  • Inappropriate command sent
  • Bad electrical connection between last actuator and gripper
  • Fingers are broken

*For ROS users, hand type set to no motion in the trajectory point

Q: What are the mechanical rotational limits of the actuators?

A: There are no mechanical limitations. All of our actuators feature slip rings and hollow-shaft motors, which allow for continuous rotation.

Q: Can I power my Kinova robot with a battery?

A: Yes. Doing so requires a 24V battery that meets the product requirements. Please refer to the user guide for the proper way to connect your Kinova robot to a battery.

Q: What type of materials are the Kinova robot shells made of?

A: The Gen2 Ultra lightweight robot is made of carbon fibre.

Q: How can I improve my robot’s gravity compensation in torque mode?

A: You can find the instructions in the User Guide in the section on Controlling the robot.

Q: I am having trouble with the robot’s Bootloader - the arm doesn’t move and the green lights on the joystick keep flashing. Where can I find the latest resources?

A: First, download the latest firmware version here (at the bottom of the page select the appropriate DOF Spherical-Firmware.

You will also need the latest version of Development Center available here and choose "KINOVA® SDK GEN 2 Ultra lightweight robot 1.5.1". Follow the release notes (RN) document to install the software properly.


Q: What simulation environment exists for the KINOVA Ultra lightweight series robotic arms?

A: The Gazebo robotic simulator allows you to rapidly test algorithms using realistic scenarios, allowing you to visualize arm movement.

Q: How do I switch the robot to torque mode using ROS?

A: All of the necessary instructions can be found in the torque control section here.


Q: How does the Gen2 Ultra lightweight robot communicate with the outside world?

A: Our robotic arms use Ethernet (1000BASE-T) and USB 2.0 to communicate with the outside world.

Q: What’s the communication protocol between the base and the Kinova joystick?

A: The CAN bus protocol is used for communication between the  joystick and the base.

Q: Where can I access the actuator communication protocol details (message structure, etc.)?

A: You can find this information in the User Guidefor the KINOVA Software development kit (SDK).

Q: What’s the benefit of communicating directly with the actuators using the low-level API?

A: There are two main benefits to communicating directly with the actuators: 1) faster response time, and 2) more control over how the actuators react.

Q: Will using the Kinova API give me access to the Kinova inverse kinematics algorithms?

A: No, because you’re communicating directly with the actuators and bypassing the DSP’s intelligence, you need to develop and run your own inverse kinematics algorithm.

Q: How can I monitor the data from my robotic arm?

A: Use the monitoring tab in the Dev Center. If you want to use the API,there’s a function to monitor most of the general parameters (get general information) or you can monitor specific parameters (see API documentation).

Still have questions?