The SwRI robotics laboratory recently underwent a major facelift and technology upgrade. The lab added a Staübli RX170HP robot, a six degree-of-freedom (DOF) articulated serial manipulator with a payload capability of 60 kilograms. The robot has undergone fingerprinting and mastering tuning, which allows precision movements of ±0.001 inch. The RX170HP has been interfaced to a Trellis/Kuka™ real-time open architecture controller. In developing advanced man-machine interfaces, SwRI has acquired a three DOF force feedback hand-controller. Active programs are in the areas of advanced control algorithms and end-effector force/torque sensing.
SwRI is currently conducting research and development in the areas of advanced control algorithms and sensing strategies as they apply to robotics. Robotic precision assembly requires accurate and repeatable assembly where reaction forces and moments are expected. SwRI has successfully demonstrated a fuzzy/hybrid control method to identify expected reactions to potentially damaging forces and moments. This development captures human expertise and transfers these skills to the robotic system.