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A robot arm for a first course in control engineering

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1 Author(s)
M. Braae ; Dept. of Electr. Eng., Cape Town Univ., Rondebosch, South Africa

A small robot arm with nonlinear dynamics is an extremely useful laboratory experiment for illustrating to electrical engineering students the role that linear control theory plays in the design of electronics for industrial applications in control engineering. The robot arm is small and low power so it can be operated safely in manual mode to demonstrate clearly the complexity of its control problem. It is easy to model in its stable region of operation and elementary theory provides a model in the unstable region. Then a series of simple linear designs can be carried out to yield a linear compensator for the robot arm. This can be converted to a stabilizing electronic feedback controller that readily holds the robot arm in any position, much to the amazement of young students. In addition the experiment introduces the student to the importance of engineering procedures in dealing with difficult problems

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Education  (Volume:39 ,  Issue: 1 )