(Dr. Wayne Book, advisor)
"Implementation of a Stable Power Assist Device"
With the emergence of new technologies and the booming of computer science, old barriers in robotics can now be crossed. For example, many improvements have been made in the field of medical devices. The introduction of robotic applications in the industry resulted in new manufacturing processes and new performance expectations. Although robots have already succeeded in completely replacing humans performing certain tasks, operations remain where the experience and skills of a human worker are yet to be matched. Therefore, a new generation of devices was developed in order to combine the great precision and strength of robots with the ability of a human. They have found great success in applications such as material handling and heavy equipment manufacturing. These devices are commonly referred to as “power assists”. Moreover, a lot of injuries on the work floor are related to “unassisted” manipulation tasks, and these hybrid devices are hoped to bring more safety into the work place.
The objective of this research is to study and implement the control of a power assist, focusing on improving the ability of a worker without introducing new hazards in the work place. Safety is a major issue in such devices, since they are directly and physically interacting with a user. The control will be based on the analysis of interactions between a human user, the robot, and a load to be manipulated. The user will be given full control over both systems. Stability will have to be ensured at all times, when manipulating the robot, with or without a load, including transitions between these two states.