“Modelling and Control of Articulated and Flexible Manipulators for Autonomous Exploration and Sensing”

Davide Spinello, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Ottawa

Articulated mobile robots made their appearance in the framework of service robotics, and are often chosen because of their agility and high redundancy, which enable them to operate in environments that might be too challenging for a conventional wheeled robot. For instance, they are conveniently deployed inside pipelines, in narrow spaces, and on the rubble of an earthquake or a major fire, and find applications in fields as diverse as rescue operations, military/defense, and confined environment exploration as, for example, inspection of bridges and inspection of natural gas pipelines, industrial pipes, and sewer pipelines, to name a few. Multi segment and flexible slender robots are often inspired by biological characteristics in living organisms with hyper-redundant morphologies, as for example millipedes, whose morphology and locomotion mechanics define their high adaptability to different terrains and substrates.

With the intent of capturing salient features of millipede locomotion mechanics, a model of a class of continuous mobile slender mechanisms is presented. Rigid body degrees of freedom and deformability of the system are coupled through a Lagrangian weak formulation that includes control inputs to achieve forward locomotion and shape tracking. The forward locomotion and the shape tracking force feedback inputs are exerted through the coupling with a substrate that models a generic environment in which the mechanism could be deployed. Additionally, by including the coupling with a deformable evolving substrate, a sensor model to estimate material response parameters from displacement measurements is presented. Targeting inspection of gas pipelines, modeling and control of an articulated mobile robot tailored for these applications is presented, and an information filter to detect defects in the inner surface of a pipeline from data collected from the robot is also discussed. The filter is tested on data provided by an industrial partner that maintains a robot.

Current and future hardware implementations target applications in the field of nondestructive testing and monitoring, and in biomedical engineering with diagnosis tools based on sensing of material properties of living tissues.

Davide Spinello received the B.Sc. And the Laurea degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of Rome “La Sapienza” in 2001 and 2005, respectively, and the Ph.D. in Engineering Mechanics from Virginia Tech in 2006. From January 2007 to July 2009 he was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Autonomous Systems and Control Laboratory at Virginia Tech. In September 2009 he joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Ottawa, where he teaches courses on control, dynamical systems, and continuum mechanics. His research interests include cooperative and distributed control and estimation, dynamical systems, continuum mechanics and distributed parameter systems, micro- and nanoelectromechanical systems, multi-physics systems, and numerical methods.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License