Ph.D. Proposal Presentation by Tian He
Thursday, December 3, 1998

(Dr. Kok-Meng Lee, advisor)

"Task-oriented Design Methodology of an Integrated Multi-Degree-of-Freedom Motion Control System"


Automation of repetitive jobs, which are usually accomplished manually, has been a topic of persistent research for a long time. Repetitive motions in stressful working environment have a potential to cause hand, wrist, and shoulder disorders. The proposed research is to establish an engineering basis for developing a task-oriented methodology for designing and control of a dexterous motion actuator. A poultry deboning process will be used as a specific case study. Although commercial deboning systems are available, these existing systems are generally hard automated, and thus are often less than desired as they do not have the ability to adapt to varying sizes and shapes of products. An alternative to address this problem is to explore the use of additional DOF for deboning of natural products.

For the above reasons, this proposed thesis will explore the method of developing task-oriented actuators to emulate manual operation. The proposed research will be accomplished with three tasks. The first task will be directed towards developing a method for determining optimal joint trajectory from manual cutting paths and force/torque requirements in the task space. The second task is the design optimization of a multi-DOF actuator to meet the task space specifications. The analytical design method will provide an effective means to configure the joint torque characteristic to match task requirements. An integrated sensor-based control scheme to meet the stringent requirements will then be developed. Unlike prior research efforts, which focused on realizing the actuator joint motion control, this research will focus on improving the actuator motion control performance in task space.

It is expected that this thesis will establish an analytical yet practical design procedure to configure the spherical motor's torque characteristics, structure, and control to automated dexterous tasks. It is also anticipated that the proposed task-oriented design methodology will contribute to a good understanding of improving poultry deboning processes from the perspective of reducing trauma disorder and a rational basis for developing future automated denoning equipment.