History of Robotics Research and Development of Japan2011LocomotionCooperative Step Climbing and Descending using a Wheelchair and a Partner Robot

Hidetoshi IkedaToyama National College of Technology
Eiji NakanoRobofesta Org.
The robot used in this research is the wheeled "Tateyama" developed in Ikeda laboratory (Toyama National College of Technology). The robot equipped with manipulators driven by small motors allows the wheelchair to overcome a step, and then the robot itself is able to overcome the step by using the wheelchair. Because most of the human-friendly robots that are used in homes or offices have small motors due to their limited body size, it is difficult for such robots to lift heavy vehicles. In addition, precisely controlling the axes' angles of the manipulators according to the processes related to pushing and pulling, and in relation to the vehicle's incline is very difficult. In such cases slippage of driving wheels can occur or the vehicles can tip over. Thus, mobile robots with manipulators have not previously been used to assist heavy carts or wheelchairs in step climbing and descending. The research group of the present report achieved cooperative step climbing of a wheelchair connected to a wheeled robot by passive links [1]. In the method used in this study, some of manipulator joints and the upper links or forearm links of manipulators press passively against the robot or wheelchair when these vehicles climb or descend a step. Thus, the motors do not need to exert major torque to support with vehicles.

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