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Mechatronics, IEEE/ASME Transactions on

Issue 4 • Date Dec. 2002

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Displaying Results 1 - 17 of 17
  • Guest editorial

    Page(s): 401 - 402
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    Freely Available from IEEE
  • The Conro modules for reconfigurable robots

    Page(s): 403 - 409
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    The goal of the Conro Project is to build deployable modular robots that can reconfigure into different shapes such as snakes or hexapods. Each Conro module is, itself, a robot and hence a Conro robot is actually a multirobot system. In this paper we present an overview of the Conro modules, the design approach, an overview of the mechanical and electrical systems and a discussion on size versus power requirement of the module. Each module is self-contained; it has its own processor, power supply, communication system, sensors and actuators. The modules, although self-contained, were designed to work in groups, as part of a large modular robot. We conclude the paper by describing some of the robots that we have built using the Conro modules and describing the miniature custom-made Conro camera as an example of the type of sensors that can be carried as payload by these robots. View full abstract»

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  • Using role-based control to produce locomotion in chain-type self-reconfigurable robots

    Page(s): 410 - 417
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    This paper presents a role-based approach to the problem of controlling locomotion of chain-type self-reconfigurable robots. In role-based control, all modules are controlled by identical controllers. Each controller consists of several playable roles and a role-selection mechanism. A role represents the motion of a module and how it synchronizes with connected modules. A controller selects which role to play depending on the local configuration of the module and the roles being played by connected modules. We use role-based control to implement a sidewinder and a caterpillar gait in the CONRO self-reconfigurable robot. The robot is made from up to nine modules connected in a chain. We show that the locomotion speed of the caterpillar gait is constant even with loss of 75% of the communication signals. Furthermore, we show that the speed of the caterpillar gait decreases gracefully with a decreased number of modules. We also implement a quadruped gait and show that without changing the controller the robot can be extended with an extra pair of legs and produce a hexapod gait. Based on these experiments, we conclude that role-based control is robust to signal loss, scales with an increased number of modules, and is a simple approach to the control of locomotion of chain-type self-reconfigurable robots. View full abstract»

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  • Distributed control for unit-compressible robots: goal-recognition, locomotion, and splitting

    Page(s): 418 - 430
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    We present a distributed self-reconfiguring robot system with unit-compressible modules called the Crystal robot. A new design for the Crystal is presented that decouples the x axis and y axis actuation, has on-board sensing and has neighbor-to-neighbor communication. We also describe a suite of distributed control algorithms for this type of robot and associated experiments for each algorithm. Several of the algorithms presented are instantiations of generic distributed algorithms for self-reconfiguring robots. Specifically, we present an algorithm for distributed goal recognition, two new distributed locomotion algorithms designed for unit-compressible actuation and a new generic-division algorithm. We also present the integration of a locomotion algorithm with distributed goal recognition, allowing the robot to reconfigure and recognize the achievement of its goal, all without the use of a central controller. For all of these algorithms, we describe the implementation, sketch correctness analysis and present experimental data. Our experiments empirically verify the usefulness of our distributed algorithms on a self-reconfiguring system. View full abstract»

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  • M-TRAN: self-reconfigurable modular robotic system

    Page(s): 431 - 441
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    In this paper, a novel robotic system called modular transformer (M-TRAN) is proposed. M-TRAN is a distributed, self-reconfigurable system composed of homogeneous robotic modules. The system can change its configuration by changing each module's position and connection. Each module is equipped with an onboard microprocessor, actuators, intermodule communication/power transmission devices and intermodule connection mechanisms. The special design of M-TRAN module realizes both reliable and quick self-reconfiguration and versatile robotic motion. For instance, M-TRAN is able to metamorphose into robotic configurations such as a legged machine and hereby generate coordinated walking motion without any human intervention. An actual system with ten modules was built and basic operations of self-reconfiguration and motion generation were examined through experiments. A series of software programs has also been developed to drive M-TRAN hardware, including a simulator of M-TRAN kinematics, a user interface to design appropriate configurations and motion sequences for given tasks, and an automatic motion planner for a regular cluster of M-TRAN modules. These software programs are integrated into the M-TRAN system supervised by a host computer. Several demonstrations have proven its capability as a self-reconfigurable robot. View full abstract»

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  • Connecting and disconnecting for chain self-reconfiguration with PolyBot

    Page(s): 442 - 451
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    Chain modular robots form systems with many degrees of freedom which are capable of being reconfigured to form arbitrary chain-based topologies. This reconfiguration requires the detaching of modules from one point in the system and reattaching at another. The internal errors in the system (especially with large numbers of modules) are such that accurate movement of chain ends, required for the attaching of modules, can be extremely difficult. A three-phase docking process is described that utilizes both open- and closed-loop techniques. This process has been shown to work with an early version. Issues raised during this testing have been addressed in a later version. Discussion of these issues, their solutions, and preliminary results of the testing the latest version are given. View full abstract»

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  • Millibot trains for enhanced mobility

    Page(s): 452 - 461
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    The objective of this work is to enhance the mobility of small mobile robots by enabling them to link into a train configuration capable of crossing relatively large obstacles. In particular, we are building on Millibots, semiautonomous, tracked mobile sensing/communication platforms at the 5-cm scale previously developed at Carnegie Mellon University. The Millibot Train concept provides couplers that allow the Millibot modules to engage/disengage under computer control and joint actuators that allow lifting of one module by another and control of the whole train shape in two dimensions. A manually configurable train prototype demonstrated the ability to climb standard stairs and vertical steps nearly half the train length. A fully functional module with powered joints has been developed and several have been built and tested. Construction of a set of six modules is well underway and will allow testing of the complete train in the near future. This paper focuses on the development, design, and construction of the electromechanical hardware for the Millibot Train. View full abstract»

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  • Self-replicating robots for lunar development

    Page(s): 462 - 472
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    In this paper, the concept of self-replicating robots (SRRs) is reviewed, and the feasibility of a particular kind of minimalistic SRR is analyzed in the context of lunar resource development. The key issue that will determine the feasibility of this approach is whether or not an autonomous robotic factory can be devised such that it is light enough to be transported to the moon, yet complete in its ability to self-replicate with no other inputs than those resources available on the lunar surface. Self-replication leads to exponential growth, and would allow as few as one initial factory to spawn lunar production of materials and energy on a massive scale. Such capacity would dramatically impact man's ability to explore and colonize space and collect solar energy for terrestrial applications. Our concept of a self-replicating robotic factory consists of four subsystems: 1) multifunctional robots for digging and transportation of materials, and assembly of components during the replication process; 2) materials refining and casting facility; 3) solar energy conversion, storage and transmission; and 4) electromagnetic rail guns for long-distance transportation (for example, for sending materials to low-earth orbit (LEO), or transporting replicated factories to distal points on the moon). Each of these subsystems is described in the context of current technologies, with an emphasis on 1). We build on previous concepts for self-replicating systems, present a simple prototype that demonstrates active mechanical replication, and develop an analytical model of how the proliferation of such systems on the lunar surface would occur. View full abstract»

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  • Connectors for self-reconfiguring robots

    Page(s): 473 - 474
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    Connectors for self-reconfiguring robots are difficult to design because of the wide range of requirements. We describe the DRAGON connector, whose most distinctive features are its ability to self-align and its strength-to-weight ratio. It weighs 170 g, but holds over 70-kg load. It is able to self-align ±15 mm (O/5) lateral offsets and ±45° directional and rotational offsets. It allows autonomous docking and reconfiguration in a fraction of a second, without any complex control. View full abstract»

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  • Generalized software components for reconfiguring hyper-redundant manipulators

    Page(s): 475 - 478
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    An application of Operational Software Components for Advanced Robotics (OSCAR) - a generalized robotic software framework - for kinematic control of hyper-redundant, self-reconfigurable systems is presented. OSCAR includes generalized kinematics, dynamics, device interfacing, and criteria-based decision making. The developed application allows an operator to interactively reconfigure modular chains into parallel mechanisms, gait structures, and multiarm systems while maintaining full kinematic control of each chain. Examples using spatial systems with various geometries are presented with application pseudocode to illustrate high-level program development using OSCAR. View full abstract»

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  • A model for voltage-to-displacement dynamics in piezoceramic actuators subject to dynamic-voltage excitations

    Page(s): 479 - 489
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    A model that predicts the expansion of piezoceramic actuators when subject to dynamic-voltage excitations is developed as an extension of the classical Preisach model. The model is presented in a recursive form that is suitable for real-time implementation. The model uses measurements of the first-order reversal curves and the average rate of change of the input-voltage signal. The model is shown through experiments to offer high accuracy under voltage excitations covering a wide frequency band. View full abstract»

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  • Pressure observer-controller design for pneumatic cylinder actuators

    Page(s): 490 - 499
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    Recent research has shown that robust and precise high-speed control of pneumatic actuators is practicable, by application of advanced control techniques such as model-based adaptive and sliding-mode control. However, the resulting need for full state-based feedback and feedforward control-in particular, the measurement of air pressures-increases both the cost and complexity of the overall system. In this paper, we consider the problem of design of observers to estimate the chamber pressure variables in a cylinder actuator. Since the cylinder pressures are not simultaneously observable because of the nature of cylinder dynamics, we first propose a continuous gain observer in which the pressure on one side of the cylinder is measured and the pressure on the other side is estimated. Next, we propose a sliding-mode observer where numerically estimated acceleration is used in order to observe both pressures, with ultimate bounded stability. A sliding-mode controller is proposed, whose sensitivity to errors under the sliding-mode observer is studied. The proposed observers are simple, effective and easy to implement. Results of experimental implementation illustrate the practical effectiveness of the new observers. View full abstract»

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  • Performance tuning of robust motion controllers for high-accuracy positioning systems

    Page(s): 500 - 514
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    This paper presents a structural design method of robust motion controllers for high-accuracy positioning systems, which makes it possible to tune the performance of the whole closed-loop system systematically. First, a stabilizing control input is designed based on Lyapunov redesign for the system in the presence of uncertainty and disturbance. And adopting the internal model following control, robust internal-loop compensator (RIC) is proposed. By using the structural characteristics of the RIC, disturbance attenuation properties and the performance of the closed-loop system determined by the variation of controller gains are analyzed. Next, in order to design a robust motion controller for a high performance positioning system, dual RIC structure is proposed and it is shown that if the synthesis of the robust motion control law is performed in the RIC framework, the robust property of RIC can be naturally implanted in the feedback controller. The proposed structural design of robust motion controller provides a systematic approach to the problem of robust stability and performance requirement in the face of uncertainty. Furthermore, by allowing the tradeoffs between robust stability and performance to be quantified in a simple fashion, it can illuminate systematic design procedure of the robust motion controllers. Finally, the proposed method is verified through simulation and the performance is evaluated by experiments using a high-accuracy positioning system. View full abstract»

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  • Local structurization kinematic decoupling of six-leg virtual-axis NC machine tool

    Page(s): 515 - 518
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    Decoupling is always a difficult problem in the field of virtual-axis numerical control (NC) machine servocontrol. In this paper, the idea of local structurization method is combined with the theory of decoupling. A new decoupling method, local structurization decoupling method, is proposed first. Jacobian matrix is decomposed into two matrices-translation matrix and rotation matrix. So decoupling between parallel motion and rotation is implemented in a six-leg virtual-axis NC machine tool for small time intervals. View full abstract»

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  • A digital miniature pump for medical applications

    Page(s): 519 - 523
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    This paper describes the principle, design, control and performance of a novel miniature linear peristaltic pump. Exhibiting dual and bi-directional feed capabilities that allow the simultaneous pumping of two distinct fluids at measured and precise flow rate, the pump consists of two resilient tubes and two directly actuated pumping units. Both of the two flexible tubes are placed in the pumping units in such a way that when a pumping element reciprocates in any direction to collapse one adjacent segment of the tubing, it will release the other adjacent segment of the same tubing at the same time. The two pumping elements reciprocate in a sequence so that fluid in the flexible tubing is continuously pumped in preset direction. For each pumping element, two reflective optical sensors are used to detect its position. Based on the output of the four position sensors, a digital logical control circuit is built for the pump. Experimental results show that this kind of miniature pump has potential applications in portable infusion/suction systems. View full abstract»

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  • Author index

    Page(s): 524 - 526
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    Freely Available from IEEE
  • Subject index

    Page(s): 526 - 533
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    Freely Available from IEEE

Aims & Scope

IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics encompasses all practical aspects of the theory and methods of mechatronics, the synergetic integration of mechanical engineering with electronic and intelligent computer control in the design and manufacture of industrial products and processes.

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Meet Our Editors

Editor-in-Chief
Okyay Kaynak
Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Bogazici University
34342 Istanbul, Turkey
okyay.kaynak@boun.edu.tr