Optimal Co-Design of Structure Topology and Sensor Deployment for Balanced System Performance and Observability
As technology increases in capability, its purposes can become multifaceted, meaning it must accomplish multiple requirements as opposed to just one. An example of said technology could be high speed airplane wings, which must be strong enough to withstand high loads, light enough to enable the aircraft to fly, and have enough thermal conductivity to withstand high temperatures. Two objectives in particular, topology and sensor deployment, are important for designing structures such as robots which need accurate sensor readings, known as observability. In an attempt to display how these two dissimilar objectives coincide with each other, a project was created around the idea of finding an optimum balance of both. This supposed state would allow the structure not only to remain strong and light but also to be monitored via sensors with a high degree of accuracy. The main focus of the project was to compare levels of observability of two known factors of input estimation error. The first system involves a structure that has been topologically optimized for compliance minimization, which increases input estimation error. The second system produces structures with random placements of sensors within the structure, which, as the average distance from load to sensor increases, induces input estimation error. These two changes in observability were compared to see which had a more direct effect. The main findings were that changes in topology had a much more direct effect over levels of observability than changes in sensor placement. Results also show that theoretical input estimation time is significantly reduced when compared to previous systems.