M.S. Thesis Presentation by Joseph G. Frankel
Friday, May 7, 2004

( Dr.Wayne J. Book, Chair)

"Development of a Haptic Backhoe Testbed"


The advent of a new generation of haptic input devices has opened up new possibilities for the fluid power industry. By adding a haptic interface and modern control hardware to traditional earthmoving equipment, it may be possible to substantially improve excavation operations. These improvements may include obstacle detection and avoidance, reduction in operator training time, increased digging efficiency and accuracy, and remote digging in hazardous environments.

A haptic backhoe testbed has been developed at the Georgia Institute of Technology to explore haptic control algorithms on a small commercial backhoe. A haptic user interface, electrohydraulic valves, position and pressure sensors, and control computers have been integrated into a closed loop control system that provides bilateral position tracking and force feedback between the haptic joystick (master) and backhoe (slave).

In this presentation, a review of the current state of haptics-for-hydraulics research will be given. System identification of the valves, kinematic transformations, LaGrangian dynamic modeling, and simulation results will be presented. System design, development, initial testing results, and current challenges will be given, and areas for future exploration will be described.

This thesis project has focused primarily on modeling, simulation, design and development of the prototype haptic backhoe. Now that the fabrication and assembly work is complete, the haptic backhoe will provide a new means to develop and test haptic control algorithms for future research efforts at Georgia Tech.