Over the past several decades there has been a steady increase in the applications of teleoperation technology such as space exploration, underwater business, mining, nuclear and toxic material handling, surgery, and even the entertainment industry. Teleoperation technology allows us to deliver human-like manipulation skills to environments, inaccessible or dangerous to humans, by combining human intelligence and robot precision with repeatability and power. In BioRobotics Lab. we are developing control methodologies and master devices to improve the teleoperation performance, and implementing those ideas to many different types of telerobotic systems including surgery robots, ocean plant robot, space robot and et al.
*Image is a courtesy of DLR.
Our team is focused on developing lightweight compliant actuators and implementation of novel actuation principles that can eliminate the use of rigid structures for human assistive systems. We have been working on design and control of lightweight upper-limb exoskeletons. One of the key features of our systems is implementation of Twisted String Actuator. In our work we developed an improved model of Linear and Rotational Twisted String Actuators and implemented it in several practical robotic setups: Linear translation joint; Bidirectional rotational joint with variable stiffness, capable of human intention estimation without a use of force sensors; Lightweight Elbow and Shoulder Exoskeletons; Twisted String Actuator with linearized output and passively adjustable gear based on the twisted string actuator. We are intended to develop light, robust and powerful components that can be used for portable assistive technologies.
There have been many research activities in autonomous vehicle. In particular, DARPA Grand Challenge and Urban Challenge made a big progress in this area. Recently, Google has succeeded in autonomous driving in urban environments with their autonomous vehicle. Not only Google, but also many other vehicle companies have tried to commercialize an autonomous vehicle and have developed related technologies. Starting with a research for vehicle teleoperation, BioRobotics Lab have been working on autonomous vehicle technology including perception, planning and control. We are currently challenging many practical issues to navigate properly in real driving environments, especially unknown and dynamic environments. To address the proper technology, we are investigating not only full autonomy and direct teleoperation, but also shared teleoperation.