The main chassis of the robot is based on the uBot5
mobile manipulator developed by the Laboratory for
Perceptual Robotics UMASS Amherst (directed by Rod
Grupen). The mobile base is a dynamically balancing
platform (akin to a miniature robotic Segway base).
It is capable of traversing indoor environments at
human walking speed.
The two 4-degree of freedom arms are based on a
series elastic DOMO/WAM style arm design with force
sensing to support position and/or force control.
These arms are designed to be able to pick up a 10
pound object fully extended when used together. The
arm length permits a large bimanual workspace on
the ground plane. The arms are sufficiently capable
to support interesting research in mobile dexterity
and group manipulation tasks such as having several
MDS robots carry a large object together.
The shoulder chassis sits above a torso "twist"
degree of freedom.
The robots can run on either tethered power or
using on-board Li-Ion batteries. An on-board DSP
and FPGA support low level motor control, and an
embedded PC running Linux OS with wireless
communication is used for dynamic balancing of the
base and force control of the arms. A small indoor
laser range finder supports navigation and obstacle
avoidance. Capacitive sensing in the white cosmetic
shells are used to sense human contact. Other
wireless embedded PCs support the robot's sensory
systems (visual, auditory, range, and tactile).
The integrated MDS platform shall run UMASS
Amherst's software for dynamic balancing and series
elastic arm control. Higher-level or more intensive
processing is performed by a network of off-board