A computer program for controlling a high-performance, force-reflecting telerobot has been developed. The goal in designing a telerobot-control system is to make the velocity of the slave match the master velocity, and the environmental force on the master match the force on the slave. Instability can arise from even small delays in propagation of signals between master and slave units. The present software, based on an impedance shaping algorithm, ensures stability even in the presence of long delays. It implements a real-time algorithm that processes position and force measurements from the master and slave and represents the master/slave communication link as a transmission line. The algorithm also uses the history of the control force and the slave motion to estimate the impedance of the environment. The estimate of the impedance of the environment is used to shape the controlled slave impedance to match the transmission-line impedance. The estimate of the environmental impedance is used to match the master and transmission-line impedances and to estimate the slave/environment force in order to present that force immediately to the operator via the master unit.
Robert J. Kline-Schoder and William Finger of Creare, Inc., for Johnson Space Center. For further information, contact the Johnson Technology Transfer Office at (281) 483-3809. MSC-23412