Duke Speeds Robot's Motion-planning via the Use of Terasic's DE5-Net
(Terasic News Report)
Science and technology bring convenience to today's life. What we have today is the outcome of the efforts and innovation of scientists and engineers. For decades, scientists and engineers have been working to develop mechanical appliances and robots to help save lives and to save time and money in businesses. Many robots and current technologies are helpful but we still need improvements in some areas, such as how to make the robot more human, more economical to use, and smoother in its motions so it saves time and money.
Photo: Duke Robotics
Jaco robot arm doing motion planning with custom FPGA processor
The IEEE Spectrum has an article on "Motion-planning Chip Speeds Robots" indicating that Duke University's research team recently overcame the problems of Robot's time consuming arm and gripper pausing problem due to a motion planning algorithm via the use of Terasic's DE5-Net
FPGA. The researchers found a way to speed up motion planning while only using one-twentieth of the power, increasing the efficiency of the robot's range of motion. The primary step was to put the robot in operation without the possibility of collision, and using custom processors to deal with motion trajectory. This helped to prevent the mechanical standstill.
The researchers first develop a probability roadmap. This roadmap which is a graph contains a number of points in the obstacle-free space. The robot has been set up so that part-time movement will not result in a collision of the obstacle, and finally figure out the optimum path in the PRM from the start point to the end point. During the movement of the robot arm space may also be a chance for a collision, so the robot's arm through the space for the movement (swept volume) must be considered in the calculation. These steps and calculations are extremely challenging. One study showed that collision detection consumed 99 percent of a motion planner's computing time.
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