Development and Control of a Modular and Reconfigurable Robot with Harmonic Drive Transmission System
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This thesis presents a detailed design, calibration, and control of a modular and reconfigurable robot (MRR) system. A MRR system not only includes modular mechanical hardware, but also modular electrical hardware, control algorithms and software. Also, those modular components can be easily constructed into various manipulator configurations to accomplish a wider range of tasks. MRRs represent the next generation of industrial manipulators that cope with the transition from mass to customer-oriented production. The main contributions of this thesis are: 1) mechanical design and calibration of multi-input multi-output (MIMO) joint modules of MRR, and 2) control design to handle multiple configuration and overcome disturbance due to dynamics uncertainty. From the mechanical design point of view, this thesis presents two main topics: 1) each joint is not only modularly designed, but also has multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) physical connection ports, which contributes to the concept of reconfigurability. Strictly speaking, single-input single-output (SISO) modular joint falls into the category of modular manipulator, and the robot reconfiguration is achieved by integrating different types of modules. For example, with single revolute MIMO joint module, both rotary and pivotal joint can be generated. On the other hand, if you would like to switch from rotary movement to pivotal movement with a SISO joint module, using another pivotal joint module is the only way to achieve this goal, and 2) for precise automation application, joints and links should be accurately connected and oriented when reconfigured. Our proposed modular joint has four connection ports which can be configured as either a rotary joint or a pivotal joint. In addition, key and keyway connection mechanism provides high accuracy in positioning the link onto the joint. Therefore, this structure reduces or eliminates MRRs system calibration time when reconfigured. Furthermore, zero link offset when used as a pivotal joint increases the robot dexterity, maximizes the reachability, and results in kinematics simplicity. The main challenge in the control of an MRR system with harmonic drives (HD) is the significant uncertainties due to friction, unmodelled dynamics, varying payload, gravitation, dynamic coupling between motions of joints, and the configuration changes. In order to compensate all unpredictable effects, we proposed a decentralized saturation-type robust control scheme based on direct-Lyapunov method and backstepping techniques. To better understand the system dynamics behavior, the HD flexspline compliance and friction calibration and results are also provided. The results are used for controller design. The proposed controller is verified through both computer simulation and experimental analysis.