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In the 1800’s, Augustin Louis Cauchy, a pioneer in mathematical analysis, studied the stiffness of an “articulated octahedron,” which is the ancestor of the hexapod. In 1949, V.E. Gough moved forward and built a parallel mechanism to test tires under combined loads.

Few years later, in 1965, D. Stewart began using a variant of the hexapod for his flight simulators.

The robot they made were renamed after them, the “Gough-Stewart platform”, but nowadays we mostly say the “Stewart platform”, and more rarely the “Gough platform”. Over the years, the hexapod has been upgraded by many engineers (K. Cappel, McCallion etc.).


The mechanism is a kinematics structure composed of two platforms and six actuators.

The base platform is fixed while the mobile platform and the six struts are moving. The actuators of the mobile platform are all connected to a link by a ball-and-socket joint; the other end of the link is attached to the base by a universal joint.

All the actuators are independent from each another and orient and position the mobile platform.


Stewart platforms are often used in machine tools technology, crane technology, underwater research, air-to-sea rescue, swell simulation, turret tests, electro-optics gimbals characterization, flight simulation, space optics, astronomy, satellite dish positioning, telescopes, biomedical research and orthopaedic surgery.