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Adaptive Technologies using Soft Robotic Bladders

Description

The traditional understanding of robotics includes mechanisms of rigid structures, which can manipulate surrounding objects, taking advantage of mechanical actuators such as motors and servomechanisms. Although these methods provide the underlying fundamental concepts behind much of modern technological infrastructure, in

The traditional understanding of robotics includes mechanisms of rigid structures, which can manipulate surrounding objects, taking advantage of mechanical actuators such as motors and servomechanisms. Although these methods provide the underlying fundamental concepts behind much of modern technological infrastructure, in fields such as manufacturing, automation, and biomedical application, the robotic structures formed by rigid axels on mechanical actuators lack the delicate differential sensors and actuators associated with known biological systems. The rigid structures of traditional robotics also inhibit the use of simple mechanisms in congested and/or fragile environments. By observing a variety of biological systems, it is shown that nature models its structures over millions of years of evolution into a combination of soft structures and rigid skeletal interior supports. Through technological bio-inspired designs, researchers hope to mimic some of the complex behaviors of biological mechanisms using pneumatic actuators coupled with highly compliant materials that exhibit relatively large reversible elastic strain. This paper begins the brief history of soft robotics, the various classifications of pneumatic fluid systems, the associated difficulties that arise with the unpredictable nature of fluid reactions, the methods of pneumatic actuators in use today, the current industrial applications of soft robotics, and focuses in large on the construction of a universally adaptable soft robotic gripper and material application tool. The central objective of this experiment is to compatibly pair traditional rigid robotics with the emerging technologies of sort robotic actuators. This will be done by combining a traditional rigid robotic arm with a soft robotic manipulator bladder for the purposes of object manipulation and excavation of extreme environments.

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2016-05

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RFID Assisted Traffic Sign Recognition System for Autonomous Vehicles

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This research report investigates the feasibility of using RFID in Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR) Systems for autonomous vehicles, specifically driver-less cars. Driver-less cars are becoming more prominent in society but must be designed to integrate with the current transportation infrastructure.

This research report investigates the feasibility of using RFID in Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR) Systems for autonomous vehicles, specifically driver-less cars. Driver-less cars are becoming more prominent in society but must be designed to integrate with the current transportation infrastructure. Current research in TSR systems use image processing as well as LIDAR to identify traffic signs, yet these are highly dependent on lighting conditions, camera quality and sign visibility. The read rates of current TSR systems in literature are approximately 96 percent. The usage of RFID in TSR systems can improve the performance of traditional TSR systems. An RFID TSR was designed for the Autonomous Pheeno Test-bed at the Arizona State University (ASU) Autonomous Collective Systems (ACS) Laboratory. The system was tested with varying parameters to see the effect of the parameters on the read rate. It was found that high reader strength and low tag distance had a maximum read rate of 96.3 percent, which is comparable to existing literature. It was proven that an RFID TSR can perform as well as traditional TSR systems, and has the capacity to improve accuracy when used alongside RGB cameras and LIDAR.

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2018-05

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Control of 3D human arm impedance

Description

Humans have an inherent capability of performing highly dexterous and skillful tasks with their arms, involving maintaining posture, movement and interacting with the environment. The latter requires for them to control the dynamic characteristics of the upper limb musculoskeletal system.

Humans have an inherent capability of performing highly dexterous and skillful tasks with their arms, involving maintaining posture, movement and interacting with the environment. The latter requires for them to control the dynamic characteristics of the upper limb musculoskeletal system. Inertia, damping and stiffness, a measure of mechanical impedance, gives a strong representation of these characteristics. Many previous studies have shown that the arm posture is a dominant factor for determining the end point impedance in a horizontal plane (transverse plane). The objective of this thesis is to characterize end point impedance of the human arm in the three dimensional (3D) space. Moreover, it investigates and models the control of the arm impedance due to increasing levels of muscle co-contraction. The characterization is done through experimental trials where human subjects maintained arm posture, while perturbed by a robot arm. Moreover, the subjects were asked to control the level of their arm muscles' co-contraction, using visual feedback of their muscles' activation, in order to investigate the effect of the muscle co-contraction on the arm impedance. The results of this study showed a very interesting, anisotropic increase of the arm stiffness due to muscle co-contraction. This can lead to very useful conclusions about the arm biomechanics as well as many implications for human motor control and more specifically the control of arm impedance through muscle co-contraction. The study finds implications for the EMG-based control of robots that physically interact with humans.

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2013

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Parallel optimization of polynomials for large-scale problems in stability and control

Description

In this thesis, we focus on some of the NP-hard problems in control theory. Thanks to the converse Lyapunov theory, these problems can often be modeled as optimization over polynomials. To avoid the problem of intractability, we establish a trade

In this thesis, we focus on some of the NP-hard problems in control theory. Thanks to the converse Lyapunov theory, these problems can often be modeled as optimization over polynomials. To avoid the problem of intractability, we establish a trade off between accuracy and complexity. In particular, we develop a sequence of tractable optimization problems - in the form of Linear Programs (LPs) and/or Semi-Definite Programs (SDPs) - whose solutions converge to the exact solution of the NP-hard problem. However, the computational and memory complexity of these LPs and SDPs grow exponentially with the progress of the sequence - meaning that improving the accuracy of the solutions requires solving SDPs with tens of thousands of decision variables and constraints. Setting up and solving such problems is a significant challenge. The existing optimization algorithms and software are only designed to use desktop computers or small cluster computers - machines which do not have sufficient memory for solving such large SDPs. Moreover, the speed-up of these algorithms does not scale beyond dozens of processors. This in fact is the reason we seek parallel algorithms for setting-up and solving large SDPs on large cluster- and/or super-computers.

We propose parallel algorithms for stability analysis of two classes of systems: 1) Linear systems with a large number of uncertain parameters; 2) Nonlinear systems defined by polynomial vector fields. First, we develop a distributed parallel algorithm which applies Polya's and/or Handelman's theorems to some variants of parameter-dependent Lyapunov inequalities with parameters defined over the standard simplex. The result is a sequence of SDPs which possess a block-diagonal structure. We then develop a parallel SDP solver which exploits this structure in order to map the computation, memory and communication to a distributed parallel environment. Numerical tests on a supercomputer demonstrate the ability of the algorithm to efficiently utilize hundreds and potentially thousands of processors, and analyze systems with 100+ dimensional state-space. Furthermore, we extend our algorithms to analyze robust stability over more complicated geometries such as hypercubes and arbitrary convex polytopes. Our algorithms can be readily extended to address a wide variety of problems in control such as Hinfinity synthesis for systems with parametric uncertainty and computing control Lyapunov functions.

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Date Created
2016

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Wind estimation and effects of wind on waypoint navigation of UAVs

Description

The presented work in this report is about Real time Estimation of wind and analyzing current wind correction algorithm in commercial off the shelf Autopilot board. The open source ArduPilot Mega 2.5 (APM 2.5) board manufactured by 3D Robotics is

The presented work in this report is about Real time Estimation of wind and analyzing current wind correction algorithm in commercial off the shelf Autopilot board. The open source ArduPilot Mega 2.5 (APM 2.5) board manufactured by 3D Robotics is used. Currently there is lot of development being done in the field of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAVs), various aerial platforms and corresponding; autonomous systems for them. This technology has advanced to such a stage that UAVs can be used for specific designed missions and deployed with reliability. But in some areas like missions requiring high maneuverability with greater efficiency is still under research area. This would help in increasing reliability and augmenting range of UAVs significantly. One of the problems addressed through this thesis work is, current autopilot systems have algorithm that handles wind by attitude correction with appropriate Crab angle. But the real time wind vector (direction) and its calculated velocity is based on geometrical and algebraic transformation between ground speed and air speed vectors. This method of wind estimation and prediction, many a times leads to inaccuracy in attitude correction. The same has been proved in the following report with simulation and actual field testing. In later part, new ways to tackle while flying windy conditions have been proposed.

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2014

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Design and development of rolling and hopping ball robots for low gravity environment

Description

In-situ exploration of planetary bodies such as Mars or the Moon have provided geologists and planetary scientists a detailed understanding of how these bodies formed and evolved. In-situ exploration has aided in the quest for water and life-supporting chemicals.

In-situ exploration of planetary bodies such as Mars or the Moon have provided geologists and planetary scientists a detailed understanding of how these bodies formed and evolved. In-situ exploration has aided in the quest for water and life-supporting chemicals. In-situ exploration of Mars carried out by large SUV-sized rovers that travel long distance, carry sophisticated onboard laboratories to perform soil analysis and sample collection. But their large size and mobility method prevents them from accessing or exploring extreme environments, particularly caves, canyons, cliffs and craters.

This work presents sub- 2 kg ball robots that can roll and hop in low gravity environments. These robots are low-cost enabling for one or more to be deployed in the field. These small robots can be deployed from a larger rover or lander and complement their capabilities by performing scouting and identifying potential targets of interest. Their small size and ball shape allow them to tumble freely, preventing them from getting stuck. Hopping enables the robot to overcome obstacles larger than the size of the robot.

The proposed ball-robot design consists of a spherical core with two hemispherical shells with grouser which act as wheels for small movements. These robots have two cameras for stereovision which can be used for localization. Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) and wheel encoder are used for dead reckoning. Communication is performed using Zigbee radio. This enables communication between a robot and a lander/rover or for inter-robot communication. The robots have been designed to have a payload with a 300 gram capacity. These may include chemical analysis sensors, spectrometers and other small sensors.

The performance of the robot has been evaluated in a laboratory environment using Low-gravity Offset and Motion Assistance Simulation System (LOMASS). An evaluation was done to understand the effect of grouser height and grouser separation angle on the performance of the robot in different terrains. The experiments show with higher grouser height and optimal separation angle the power requirement increases but an increase in average robot speed and traction is also observed. The robot was observed to perform hops of approximately 20 cm in simulated lunar condition. Based on theoretical calculations, the robot would be able to perform 208 hops with single charge and will operate for 35 minutes. The study will be extended to operate multiple robots in a network to perform exploration. Their small size and cost makes it possible to deploy dozens in a region of interest. Multiple ball robots can cooperatively perform unique in-situ science measurements and analyze a larger surface area than a single robot alone on a planet surface.

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Date Created
2016

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Dynamics, modeling, simulation and control of mid-flight coupling of quadrotors

Description

Unmanned aerial vehicles have received increased attention in the last decade due to their versatility, as well as the availability of inexpensive sensors (e.g. GPS, IMU) for their navigation and control. Multirotor vehicles, specifically quadrotors, have formed a fast growing

Unmanned aerial vehicles have received increased attention in the last decade due to their versatility, as well as the availability of inexpensive sensors (e.g. GPS, IMU) for their navigation and control. Multirotor vehicles, specifically quadrotors, have formed a fast growing field in robotics, with the range of applications spanning from surveil- lance and reconnaissance to agriculture and large area mapping. Although in most applications single quadrotors are used, there is an increasing interest in architectures controlling multiple quadrotors executing a collaborative task. This thesis introduces a new concept of control involving more than one quadrotors, according to which two quadrotors can be physically coupled in mid-flight. This concept equips the quadro- tors with new capabilities, e.g. increased payload or pursuit and capturing of other quadrotors. A comprehensive simulation of the approach is built to simulate coupled quadrotors. The dynamics and modeling of the coupled system is presented together with a discussion regarding the coupling mechanism, impact modeling and additional considerations that have been investigated. Simulation results are presented for cases of static coupling as well as enemy quadrotor pursuit and capture, together with an analysis of control methodology and gain tuning. Practical implementations are introduced as results show the feasibility of this design.

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Date Created
2016

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A friction and adhesion characterization setup for extreme temperatures

Description

It is well known that the geckos can cling to almost any surface using highly dense micro
ano fibrils found on the feet that rely on Van Der Waals forces to adhere. A few experimental and theoretical approaches have been

It is well known that the geckos can cling to almost any surface using highly dense micro
ano fibrils found on the feet that rely on Van Der Waals forces to adhere. A few experimental and theoretical approaches have been taken to understand the adhesion mechanism of gecko feet. This work explains the building procedure of custom experimental setup to test the adhesion force over a temperature range and extends its application in space environment, potentially unsafe working condition.

This study demonstrates that these adhesive capable of switching adhesive properties not only at room environment but also over a temperature range of -160 degC to 120 degC in vacuum conditions. These conditions are similar to the condition experienced by a satellite in a space orbiting around the earth. Also, this study demonstrated various detachment and specimen patch preparation methods. The custom-made experimental setup for adhesion test can measure adhesion force in temperature and pressure controlled environment over specimen size of 1 sq. inch. A cryogenic cooling system with liquid nitrogen is used to achieve -160 degC and an electric resistive heating system are used to achieve 120 degC in controlled volume. Thermal electrodes, infrared thermopile detectors are used to record temperature at sample and pressure indicator to record vacuum condition in controlled volume. Reversibility of the switching behaviour of the specimen in controlled environment confirms its application in space and very high or very low-temperature conditions.

The experimental setup was developed using SolidWorks as a design tool, Ansys as simulation tool and the data acquisition utilizes LabVIEW available in the market today.

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Date Created
2016

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A wearable pneumatic device for investigating ankle inversion and eversion in human gait

Description

Human walking has been a highly studied topic in research communities because of its extreme importance to human functionality and mobility. A complex system of interconnected gait mechanisms in humans is responsible for generating robust and consistent walking motion over

Human walking has been a highly studied topic in research communities because of its extreme importance to human functionality and mobility. A complex system of interconnected gait mechanisms in humans is responsible for generating robust and consistent walking motion over unpredictable ground and through challenging obstacles. One interesting aspect of human gait is the ability to adjust in order to accommodate varying surface grades. Typical approaches to investigating this gait function focus on incline and decline surface angles, but most experiments fail to address the effects of surface grades that cause ankle inversion and eversion. There have been several studies of ankle angle perturbation over wider ranges of grade orientations in static conditions; however, these studies do not account for effects during the gait cycle. Furthermore, contemporary studies on this topic neglect critical sources of unnatural stimulus in the design of investigative technology. It is hypothesized that the investigation of ankle angle perturbations in the frontal plane, particularly in the context of inter-leg coordination mechanisms, results in a more complete characterization of the effects of surface grade on human gait mechanisms. This greater understanding could potentially lead to significant applications in gait rehabilitation, especially for individuals who suffer from impairment as a result of stroke. A wearable pneumatic device was designed to impose inversion and eversion perturbations on the ankle through simulated surface grade changes. This prototype device was fabricated, characterized, and tested in order to assess its effectiveness. After testing and characterizing this device, it was used in a series of experiments on human subjects while data was gathered on muscular activation and gait kinematics. The results of the characterization show success in imposing inversion and eversion angle perturbations of approximately 9° with a response time of 0.5 s. Preliminary experiments focusing on inter-leg coordination with healthy human subjects show that one-sided inversion and eversion perturbations have virtually no effect on gait kinematics. However, changes in muscular activation from one-sided perturbations show statistical significance in key lower limb muscles. Thus, the prototype device demonstrates novelty in the context of human gait research for potential applications in rehabilitation.

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Date Created
2016

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Development and Performance of a Screw-Propelled ISRU Excavation System

Description

Regolith excavation systems are the enabling technology that must be developed in order to implement many of the plans for in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) that have been developed in recent years to aid in creating a lasting human presence on

Regolith excavation systems are the enabling technology that must be developed in order to implement many of the plans for in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) that have been developed in recent years to aid in creating a lasting human presence on the surface of the Moon, Mars, and other celestial bodies. The majority of proposed ISRU excavation systems are integrated onto a wheeled mobility system, however none yet have proposed the use of a screw-propelled vehicle, which has the potential to augment and enhance the capabilities of the excavation system. As a result, CASPER, a novel screw-propelled excavation rover is developed and analyzed to determine its effectiveness as a ISRU excavation system. The excavation rate, power, velocity, cost of transport, and a new parameter, excavation transport rate, are analyzed for various configurations of the vehicle through mobility and excavation tests performed in silica sand. The optimal configuration yielded a 28.4 kg/hr excavation rate and11.2 m/min traverse rate with an overall system mass of 3.4 kg and power draw of26.3 W. CASPER’s mobility and excavation performance results are compared to four notable proposed ISRU excavation systems of various types. The results indicate that this architecture shows promise as an ISRU excavator because it provides significant excavation capability with low mass and power requirements.

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Date Created
2021