June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
14.609.1 - 14.609.11
Experimental Determination of Torque Control Capability of a Modular Robot Actuator: An Undergraduate Research Project
The goal of this manuscript is to present the undergraduate research experience of the first author as a mentee in Graduates Linked with Undergraduates in Engineering (GLUE) initiative at the Cockrell School of Engineering in The University of Texas at Austin. GLUE is a retention and career development program developed and managed by the Women in Engineering Program (WEP) at The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin). GLUE is designed to address undergraduate attrition and low rates of perseverance to graduate school. This mentoring program partners a senior graduate student with an undergraduate mentee to work on an engineering research project within the major of both the mentor and the mentee. The GLUE program will be five years old in Spring 2009.
This undergraduate research experience involved a project in the field of robotics. Safety in human-robot interaction is an issue that has received much attention in the literature recently. To make robot manipulators safe around humans, it is important to be able to control them in torque mode in addition to velocity control capability. The undergraduate research project presented in this paper focused on determining the motor current to output torque relationship for a commercial robot actuator, which in turn enables torque-based dynamic control. The mentee participated in an experimental project to determine the torque characteristics of a commercially available modular robot actuator. The outcome of this effort was a set of experimental data (torque to current mapping for the actuator) which then facilitates torque-based dynamic control of the modular manipulator assembled from these actuators.
Why do research in robotics as an undergraduate? Because I neither had experience doing graduate level research nor did I have any introduction to the field of robotics through formal coursework or internships. Oxford defines research as “a careful study of a subject, especially in order to discover new facts or information about it” and “work that tries to find new products and processes or to improve existing ones1.” Robotics is defined as “the science of designing and operating robots2.” Both of those definitions were proven to be true as I progressed throughout my experience.
I was reluctant to enroll for the Graduates Linked with Undergraduates in Engineering (GLUE) class my sophomore year, which paired me with a great graduate mentor to conduct undergraduate research. The main focus of GLUE is to provide undergraduate students with a real-life perspective of graduate research and encourage students to pursue a degree beyond the completion of their undergraduate studies. Upon its completion, the class allowed me to take the following knowledge from it: gain research experience as well as technical writing and presentation skills, learn about the application process for graduate school, gain information about research opportunities, research in today’s industry, and get a perspective into life as a graduate student.
Lang, M., & Rabindran, D., & Berry, T. (2009, June), Experimental Determination Of Torque Control Capability Of A Modular Robot Actuator: An Undergraduate Research Project Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/5765
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