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A Reconfigurable Robot With Lockable Cylindrical Joints

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2 Author(s)
Farhad Aghili ; Div. of Spacecraft Eng., Canadian Space Agency, St. Hubert, QC, Canada ; Parsa, K.

This paper presents a new conceptual design for reconfigurable robots. Unlike conventional reconfigurable robots, our design does not achieve reconfigurability by utilizing modular joints. Rather, the robot is equipped with passive joints, i.e., joints without actuator or sensor, which permit changing the Denavit-Hartenberg (DH) parameters such as the link length and twist angle. The passive joints will become controllable when the robot forms a closed kinematic chain. Also, each passive joint is equipped with a built-in brake mechanism that is normally locked, but the lock can be released whenever the parameters are to be changed. Such a versatile and agile robot is particularly suitable for space application for its simple, compact, and light design. The kinematics and recalibration of this kind of reconfigurable robot are thoroughly analyzed. A stable reconfiguration-control algorithm is devised to take the robot from one configuration to another by directly regulating the passive joints to the associated, desired DH parameters. Conditions for the observability and the controllability of the passive joints are also derived in detail.

Published in:

Robotics, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:25 ,  Issue: 4 )