Let's face it: the Puma is a little old and a little bit cheesy. The purpose of this project is to improve the robot and the computer control system for it. Groups can choose one of the following possible improvements for their project.
These project descriptions are intentionally open-ended, (like the "real world") and as such may appear incomplete. An element of each of these projects is actually determining the exact scope of the project, which will typically, although perhaps not always, require you to consult with the instructor. An important part of the project report will be clearly delineating what the scope of the project is.
Currently, the GUI has only slightly more capability than the terminal interface. One improvement would be to add some "intelligence" to the system that is not present in the terminal interface. Certain commands, such as DRAW or MOVE sometime crap out because the manipulator can not move in either a straight line in Cartesian coordinates, or a straight line in joint coordinates from the starting point to the desired end point. For example, if the end effector has to move through the body of the robot, or the trajectory takes it outside its workspace or through a singularity, it complains and gives some sort of error signal like "INVALID SOLUTION." We need to be able to recognize the error command that the robot gives us and to take "appropriate" action.
Required activities: You can divide the responsibility for this project in any way that your group decides is appropriate, but this project initially appears to have the following distinct duties, some of which are relatively easy and some of which are relatively hard.
The GUI could also be improved by adding other higher order intelligence. It appears that the robot can only go in a straight line in Cartesian space or joint space. Other possibilities may be more desirable. For example, a trajectory that minimizes joint torques, joint velocities or stays far from singularities may be desirable. In such a case, the user should enter the starting and ending configurations, and the program would determine the trajectory.
Another possibility would be for a user to input a mathematical description of the path of the end effector, or to have a set of "basis" motions, i.e., circles, ellipsoids, etc.
Another possibility is to mimic a common manufacturing problem. For example, for spot welding, drilling, etc., which would require specifying a set of points and orientations on a surface, along each of which the tool must move.
Required activities: You can divide the responsibility for this project in any way that your group decides is appropriate, but this project does require rather distinct duties, some of which are relatively easy and some of which are relatively hard.
If you think that all of these projects are stupid or otherwise undesirable, you can propose your own. The instructor is happy to consider alternative project proposals that are educationally substantive.
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