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Open-Source Real-Time Robot Operation and Control System for Highly Dynamic, Modular Machines

[+] Author Affiliations
Andrew Peekema, Daniel Renjewski, Jonathan Hurst

Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR

Paper No. DETC2013-12493, pp. V07AT10A063; 8 pages
  • ASME 2013 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 7A: 9th International Conference on Multibody Systems, Nonlinear Dynamics, and Control
  • Portland, Oregon, USA, August 4–7, 2013
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5596-6
  • Copyright © 2013 by ASME


The control system of a highly dynamic robot requires the ability to respond quickly to changes in the robot’s state. This type of system is needed in varying fields such as dynamic locomotion, multicopter control, and human-robot interaction. Robots in these fields require software and hardware capable of hard real-time, high frequency control. In addition, the application outlined in this paper requires modular components, remote guidance, and mobile control. The described system integrates a computer on the robot for running a control algorithm, a bus for communicating with microcontrollers connected to sensors and actuators, and a remote user interface for interacting with the robot. Current commercial solutions can be expensive, and open source solutions are often time consuming. The key innovation described in this paper is the building of a control system from existing — mostly open source — components that can provide realtime, high frequency control of the robot. This paper covers the development of such a control system based on ROS, OROCOS, and EtherCAT, its implementation on a dynamic bipedal robot, and system performance test results.

Copyright © 2013 by ASME



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