Robotic Control

I’ve been thinking about a project that i would like to do for a few weeks now, and to when i brought the idea up in a lecture, i was told that the idea of mine is not currently being used in industry, which means that there might be quite a market for the product if its done well.

We have been learning how to control robots (namely robotic arms) using control theory and the techniques used.

This is not easy stuff, by the way, a robot arm with 6 degrees of freedom is very complex.

What got to me was the amount of times that because the robot is so complex (and it has to be to allow sufficent movement and a correct inverse kinematic model) that many calculations are done by assuming the worst case scenario, which reduces the performance of the robots performance (namely speed of response and overshoot) in every case which is better than the worst i.e the robot is assumed to be carrying maximum load for the calculations, so when it is not it performs worse because the transfer function isnt optimal anymore.

What i would like to do is try and produce a program which controls the robot, a software controller rather than a hardware controller, which takes in more inputs from the robot and calculates the optimal transfer function every time the robot moves, or picks up an item. Which would improve the performance of the robot considerably when the load is reduced, or the couples are higher.

Computers are certainly powerful enough to do this kind of task i believe, and i think this could be a very worthy project indeed, but i dont know how to go about it. I’m currently stuck into my final year project, so i’ll have to wait until after i finish my exams, but i would also need the resources like a robot and access to the infomation as well, i think uni would definatly be a great place to do this, but how?

A Phd? another degree? a masters? i dont really know so..

I’m going to speak to the head of robotics about it, see what he thinks, and hopefully he can advise on what to do, or how to go about doing it.


8 thoughts on “Robotic Control”

  1. Wow, sounds like quite an undertaking, but like you say it could prove very successful if there is no current use in industry!!!

  2. Hey,

    I don’t want to sound like a salesman, but you might be interested in Dynaflex Pro:

    This is an add on package to Maple (A mathematical software package), that is designed to help people working with Multibody systems such as robots.

    Another product from Maplesoft, is ICP,
    This is a product that helps users to create transfer functions for control systems.

    Sorry for the sales pitch, I work for Maplesoft and read your blog and figured that I might be able to help.

  3. Not at all, thanks very much william.

    I dont mind links to products that a relevant, and tbh i couldnt possibly afford maplesoft software on a students wage, but its good to see what else is out there in this field.

    ICP looks similar to a program we use in the lab called CODAS, which is a bit old and shody, but it does the job and the course notes are based on it. We have been told that we could do the same thing in MAtlab, but we never got taught a huge amount of it, i only have a basic knowledge of matlab programming from my machine vision lectures.

  4. Would love to assist in its development. There are many tricks, but critical early on decisions. Email me yor email.

  5. No i didnt build that arm jay, its just an off the shelf kit for a servo powered arm, i found a pic from google.

    We’ve done all about robotic design on our course, but the control is what interests me the most.

    Once i finish my project i’ll start looking into, along with a couple other programming ideas i have ;)

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