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A space construction humanoid

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5 Author(s)
M. A. Diftler ; Autom., Robotics & Simulation Div., NASA/Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, USA ; J. S. Mehling ; P. A. Strawser ; W. R. Doggett
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A mobile humanoid robot is reconfiguring NASA modular truss structures at the Johnson Space Center. Until recently these structures could only be effectively manipulated by human hands or by robots with specialized end effectors. This humanoid robot, Robonaut, designed to assist astronauts during space walks, has been upgraded to tackle the precision constrained tasks associated with truss assembly and disassembly. An overview of construction tasks with reconfigurable truss systems is presented along with the associated challenges these systems present to humanoid robots. Advances in Robonaut's capabilities that address these challenges are described and include: a grip surface augmentation to Robonaut's gloves that provides a close approximation to the latest astronaut gloves ensuring a secure grasp during truss coupler manipulation, a set of force controller parameters tuned to maintain stable contact and minimize loads on the truss structure, and a shared control strategy that divides the Cartesian control of Robonaut's hands between the teleoperator and the robot's on-board controller to minimize human workload during constrained tasks. Results of the reconfiguration tests are presented along with potential areas for future automation

Published in:

5th IEEE-RAS International Conference on Humanoid Robots, 2005.

Date of Conference:

5-5 Dec. 2005