Real-time Control of Soft-Robots using Asynchronous Finite Element Modeling


F. Largilliere, V. Verona, E. Coevoet, M. Sanz-Lopez, J. Dequidt, and C. Duriez, “Real-time Control of Soft-Robots using Asynchronous Finite Element Modeling,” ICRA, 2015.


Finite Element analysis can provide accurate deformable models for soft-robots. However, using such models is very difficult in a real-time system of control. In this paper, we introduce a generic solution that enables a high-rate control and that is compatible with strong real-time constraints. From a Finite Element analysis, computed at low rate, an inverse model of the robot outputs the setpoint values for the actuator in order to obtain a desired trajectory. This inverse problem uses a QP (quadratic-programming) algorithm based on the equations set by the Finite Element Method. To improve the update rate performances, we propose an asynchronous simulation framework that provides a better trade-off between the deformation accuracy and the computational burden. Complex computations such as accurate FEM deformations are done at low frequency while the control is performed at high frequency with strong real-time constraints. The two simulation loops (high frequency and low frequency loops) are mechanically coupled in order to guarantee mechanical accuracy of the system over time. Finally, the validity of the multi-rate simulation is discussed based on measurements of the evolution in the QP matrix and an experimental validation is conducted to validate the correctness of the high-rate inverse model on a real robot

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