Human-friendly robotic manipulators: safety and performance issues in controller design

T.S. Tadele

    Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

    440 Downloads (Pure)


    Recent advances in robotics have spurred its adoption into new application areas such as medical, rescue, transportation, logistics, personal care and entertainment. In the personal care domain, robots are expected to operate in human-present environments and provide non-critical assistance. Successful and flourishing deployment of such robots present different opportunities as well as challenges. Under a national research project, Bobbie, this dissertation analyzes challenges associated with these robots and proposes solutions for identified problems. The thesis begins by highlighting the important safety concern and presenting a comprehensive overview of safety issues in a typical domestic robot system. By using functional safety concept, the overall safety of the complex robotic system was analyzed through subsystem level safety issues. Safety regions in the world model of the perception subsystem, dependable understanding of the unstructured environment via fusion of sensory subsystems, lightweight and compliant design of mechanical components, passivity based control system and quantitative metrics used to assert safety are some important points discussed in the safety review. The main research focus of this work is on controller design of robotic manipulators against two conflicting requirements: motion performance and safety. Human-friendly manipulators used on domestic robots exhibit a lightweight design and demand a stable operation with a compliant behavior injected via a passivity based impedance controller. Effective motion based manipulation using such a controller requires a highly stiff behavior while important safety requirements are achieved with compliant behaviors. On the basis of this intuitive observation, this research identifies suitable metrics to identify the appropriate impedance for a given performance and safety requirement. This thesis also introduces a domestic robot design that adopts a modular design approach to minimize complexity, cost and development time. On the basis of functional modularity concept where each module has a unique functional contribution in the system, the robot “Bobbie-UT‿ is built as an interconnection of interchangeable mobile platform, torso, robotic arm and humanoid head components. Implementation of necessary functional and safety requirements, design of interfaces and development of suitable software architecture are also discussed with the design.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Twente
    • Stramigioli, Stefano, Supervisor
    • de Vries, Theodorus J.A., Advisor
    Thesis sponsors
    Award date7 Nov 2014
    Place of PublicationEnschede
    Print ISBNs978-90-365-3784-1
    Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2014


    • Robot Safety
    • Passivity based Controller
    • Humand-friendly manipulators
    • EWI-25282
    • impedance control
    • IR-92382
    • METIS-306181


    Dive into the research topics of 'Human-friendly robotic manipulators: safety and performance issues in controller design'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this