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Motion Control of the CyberCarpet Platform

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8 Author(s)
Alessandro De Luca ; Dipartimento di Ingegneria informatica, automatica e gestionale Antonio Ruberti, Università di Roma “La Sapienza”, Roma, Italy ; Raffaella Mattone ; Paolo Robuffo Giordano ; Heinz Ulbrich
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The CyberCarpet is an actuated platform that allows unconstrained locomotion of a walking user for Virtual Reality exploration. The platform consists of a linear treadmill covered by a ball-array carpet and mounted on a turntable, and is equipped with two actuating devices for linear and angular motion. The main control objective is to keep the walker close to the platform center in the most natural way, counteracting his/her voluntary motion while satisfying perceptual constraints. The motion control problem for this platform is not trivial since the system kinematics is subject to a nonholonomic constraint. In the first part of the paper we describe the kinematic control design devised within the CyberWalk project, where the linear and angular platform velocities are used as input commands and feedback is based only on walker's position measurements obtained by an external visual tracking system. In particular, we present a globally stabilizing control scheme that combines a feedback and a feedforward action, based on a disturbance observer of the walker's intentional velocity. We also discuss possible extensions to acceleration-level control and the related assessment of dynamic issues affecting a walker during his/her motion. The second part of the paper is devoted to the actual implementation of the overall system. As a proof of concept of a final full-scale platform, the mechanical design and realization of a small-scale prototype of the CyberCarpet is presented, as well as the visual localization method used to obtain the human walker's position on the platform by an overhead camera. To validate the proposed motion control design, experimental results are reported and discussed for a series of motion tasks performed using a small tracked vehicle representative of a moving user.

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IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology  (Volume:21 ,  Issue: 2 )