Computer Science Technical Reports
CS at VT

A Real Time Robot Arm Collision Detection System

Shaffer, Clifford A. and Herb, Gregory M. (1990) A Real Time Robot Arm Collision Detection System. Technical Report TR-90-28, Computer Science, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

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A data structure and update algorithm are presented for a prototype real time collision detection safety system for a multi-robot environment. The data structure is a variant of the octree, which serves as a spacial index. An octree recursively decomposes three dimensional space into eight equal cubic octans until each octant meets some decomposition criteria. Our octree stores cylspheres (cylinders with spheres on each end) and rectangular solids as primitives (other primitives can easily be added as required). These primitives make up the two seven-degrees-of-freedom robot arms and environment modeled by the system. Octree nodes containing more than a predetermined number N of primitives are decomposed. This rule keeps the octree small, as the entire environment for our application can be modeled using a few dozen primitives. As robot arms move, the octree is updated to reflect their changed positions. During most update cycles, any given primitive does not change which octree node it is in. Thus, modification to the octree is rarely required. Incidents in which one robot arm comes too close to another arm or an object are reported. Cycle time for interpreting current joint angles, updating the octree, and detecting/reporting imminent collisions averages 30 milliseconds on an Intel 80386 processor running at 20 MHz.

Item Type:Departmental Technical Report
Subjects:Computer Science > Historical Collection(Till Dec 2001)
ID Code:210
Deposited By:User autouser
Deposited On:05 December 2001