The Development of a Sensitive Manipulation Platform Public
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This thesis presents an extension of sensitive manipulation which transforms tactile sensors away from end effectors and closer to whole body sensory feedback. Sensitive manipulation is a robotics concept which more closely replicates nature by employing tactile sensing to interact with the world. While traditional robotic arms are specifically designed to avoid contact, biological systems actually embrace and intentionally contact the environment. This arm is inspired by these biological systems and therefore has compliant joints and a tactile shell surrounding the two primary links of the arm. The manipulator has also been designed to be capable of both industrial and humanoid style manipulation. There are an untold number of applications for an arm with increased tactile feedback primarily in dynamic environments such as in industrial, humanoid, and prosthetic applications. The arm developed for this thesis is intended to be a desktop research platform, however, one of the most influential applications for increased tactile feedback is in prosthetics which are operate in ever changing and contact ridden environments while continuously interacting with humans. This thesis details the simulation, design, analysis, and evaluation of a the first four degrees of freedom of a robotic arm with particular attention given to the design of modular series elastic actuators in each joint as well as the incorporation of a shell of tactile sensors.
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