M.S. Thesis Presentation by Matthew Kontz
Monday, November 11, 2002

(Dr. Wayne Book, advisor)

"Haptic Enhancement of Operator Capabilities in Hydraulic Equipment"


The ultimate goal of this project was to explore ways to enhance the user’s ability to control a remote manipulator using haptic/force feedback. The remote device used was HAL (hydraulically actuated lifter), which mimics the motion of a forklift. The Haptic display was a commercially available Phantom 1.5. Data was passed between the two machines over the Internet using standard Internet protocol. The position of the Phantom was used as a position and/or velocity input signal to control HAL. At the same time feedback from sensors as well as virtual constraints were used to enhance the user’s ability to manipulate HAL through haptic feedback displayed as a force by the Phantom. Several types of virtual constraints were employed to relay important information to the user such as the weight of the object being lifted. Another virtual constraint is changed on the fly based on proximity sensor data to stop HAL from running into the load and positioning HAL to pick up the load. Another feature explored was a control strategy that switches between position and rate control in order to allow a holonomic master to control and non-holonomic slave. Experimental results will be presented to demonstrate how these features could be used to enhance operator control capabilities of a real piece of hydraulic equipment.