Tag Archives: Manipulator Arms

Model-based RL for controling a soft manipulator arm

T. G. Thuruthel, E. Falotico, F. Renda and C. Laschi, Model-Based Reinforcement Learning for Closed-Loop Dynamic Control of Soft Robotic Manipulators, IEEE Transactions on Robotics, vol. 35, no. 1, pp. 124-134, Feb. 2019. DOI: 10.1109/TRO.2018.2878318.

Dynamic control of soft robotic manipulators is an open problem yet to be well explored and analyzed. Most of the current applications of soft robotic manipulators utilize static or quasi-dynamic controllers based on kinematic models or linearity in the joint space. However, such approaches are not truly exploiting the rich dynamics of a soft-bodied system. In this paper, we present a model-based policy learning algorithm for closed-loop predictive control of a soft robotic manipulator. The forward dynamic model is represented using a recurrent neural network. The closed-loop policy is derived using trajectory optimization and supervised learning. The approach is verified first on a simulated piecewise constant strain model of a cable driven under-actuated soft manipulator. Furthermore, we experimentally demonstrate on a soft pneumatically actuated manipulator how closed-loop control policies can be derived that can accommodate variable frequency control and unmodeled external loads.

Calibrating a robotic manipulator through photogrammetry, and a nice state-of-the-art in the issue of robot calibration

Alexandre Filion, Ahmed Joubair, Antoine S. Tahan, Ilian A. Bonev, Robot calibration using a portable photogrammetry system, Robotics and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing, Volume 49, 2018, Pages 77-87, DOI: 10.1016/j.rcim.2017.05.004.

This work investigates the potential use of a commercially-available portablephotogrammetry system (the MaxSHOT 3D) in industrial robot calibration. To demonstrate the effectiveness of this system, we take the approach of comparing the device with a laser tracker (the FARO laser tracker) by calibrating an industrial robot, with each device in turn, then comparing the obtained robot position accuracy after calibration. As the use of a portablephotogrammetry system in robot calibration is uncommon, this paper presents how to proceed. It will cover the theory of robot calibration: the robot’s forward and inverse kinematics, the elasto-geometrical model of the robot, the generation and ultimate selection of robot configurations to be measured, and the parameter identification. Furthermore, an experimental comparison of the laser tracker and the MaxSHOT3D is described. The obtained results show that the FARO laser trackerION performs slightly better: The absolute positional accuracy obtained with the laser tracker is 0.365mm and 0.147mm for the maximum and the mean position errors, respectively. Nevertheless, the results obtained by using the MaxSHOT3D are almost as good as those obtained by using the laser tracker: 0.469mm and 0.197mm for the maximum and the mean position errors, respectively. Performances in distance accuracy, after calibration (i.e. maximum errors), are respectively 0.329mm and 0.352mm, for the laser tracker and the MaxSHOT 3D. However, as the validation measurements were acquired with the laser tracker, bias favors this device. Thus, we may conclude that the calibration performances of the two measurement devices are very similar.