Enhancement of Sensor Systems for Control of Robots Actuated by Cables in Tension
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SpacePack is a multi-disciplinary capstone team tasked with designing a cable driven parallel robot (CDPR) with tension control for NASA Johnson Space Center. The results from tension control and data acquisition from the research project will be used by NASA JSC to create a human rated large scale CDPR. The CDPR will be used for astronaut training to simulate dynamic space environments. The CDPR is a step forward in helping humanity’s explore the Moon and Mars. The CDPR should be able to determine its orientation and position in space, while maintaining tension in the cables. The robot’s position, velocity, and acceleration will be estimated in real time. Cable Driven Parallel Robots (CDPRs) or cable driven platforms are robots that can provide simulated dynamic environments. The project develops a novel feedback controller that connects to a multi-sensor system which combines independent sensors to enhance CDPR tension control. The goal is to accurately follow a given trajectory and simultaneously provide specified loads (and hence platform motion) for a small scale, 6-degrees of freedom (6-DOF), CDPR prototype. Figure 1 shows a complete assembly of the 6-DOF robot prototype. Prior to developing the 6-DOF platform, a 1-DOF proof of concept robot will be constructed to test the newly established feedback sensor system. To optimize robot workspace within CDPRs the team workspace analysis was carried out using open source software package CASPR (Cable-robot Analysis and Simulation Platform for Research)  where multiple configurations will be explored systematically. Upon reaching optimality in the simulation, the model will be verified experimentally by building the CDPR with the same actuator and cable configuration. Simulation and experimental data was gathered via sensor and data acquisition software. The goal is for the simulation data and experimental data to match as workspace is optimized. In addition, to address issues with workspace, a high torque motor system and the configuration of that system was applied in simulation and experiments.