Robot modeling and biomechanical applications

Robotic manipulators have become a common manufacturing tool in different industries. In the last decade, researchers have extended the applications of robots to many areas, having as practical result new types of robots. One of the most elusive applications has always been in the biomechanical domain, where robots have been designed either to assist patients or medical personnel, with the goal to improve the quality of life.

Independent of the application, the most important part in designing/analyzing a robotic structure is the mathematical model. Robot modeling includes primarily the kinematics and dynamics. Strongly connected with the robot model is the simulation and testing of the models.

In this research direction, we focus mainly on applications of robotics in the domain of biomechanics and in the implementation of relevant designs and control strategies. In particular, we focus on designing robotic systems suitable for each application and developing controllers that match the necessary specifications.

Our open and ongoing projects in this area are listed below, together with a selection of completed projects where relevant.

Robotic prosthetic hand

The goal of this project is to design and construct a robotic prosthetic hand, aiming at helping amputees perform basic every day tasks. The robotic arm should be lightweight and offer a level of dexterity so that the patient can grasp objects of different sizes and shapes. Apropriate modeling and control of the robotic hand should be developed.

Robotic controller for surgical assistance robot

One very elusive application for robotic arms, is for asistance during surgery. A specific application is when performing incisions or drilling for fixation of implants. Robotic arms can be more accurate and repeatable than a surgeon, and can be programmed on before-hand to assist in patient-specific operations.

Robot control using data from depth camera

In several applications, robots are used in dangerous, sterile or remote locations. However, the current level of sophistication of robotic controllers, does not allow them to operate without human supervision or intervention. Therefore, these robots need to be controlled by a human, usually from a distance.

Real-time control using a polynomial representation

Fuzzy-polynomial approaches have gained considerable interest in the last years for control of nonlinear systems. The stability and design conditions for such models are derived in the form of sum-of-squares, which can be solved using available tools.

This project aims at the testing and validation of the SOS approach on an available laboratory setup. Options include the Quanser rotational inverted pendulum, controlling an Inteco3D crane to move the load along a designated trajectory, a Cyton Gamma robot arm, etc.

Young Teams grant: Handling non-smooth effects in control of real robotic systems

Robotics has a growing impact on our everyday life. Traditional applications are complemented by the integration of robots in the human environment. With the availability of low cost sensors, aerial robotics also became an active area of research. However, many of the practical challenges associated to the real time control of robotic systems are not yet resolved.

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