Special Issue on Force and Compliance Control
Bio-Robotics Division, Robotics Department, Mechanical Engineering Laboratory, AIST- MITI, 1-2 Namiki, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305, Japan
When robots perform tasks in which constraint forces are applied to the end effector from the environment, the interactive forces must be controlled. Considering this problem, in robotics, force control has been recognized as one of the most important research topics since the beginning of robotics research. In order to control forces dexterously, several studies have been conducted concerning sensors, actuators, and control algorithms. Currently, compliance and impedance control is a newly identified topic in force control. In the biological analysis of human behavior, it is well known that man adjusts the impedance of skeletal muscles according to the kind of task and can perform them dexterously. A compliance/impedance control technique has been proposed in order to realize such a function in robot motion. The feature of compliance/impedance control is control of the interacting forces not directly but through adjustment of compliance/impedance parameters of the system. This control structure provides several benefits to enable robots perform to complex tasks dexterously; however, there are still a lot of problems to be solved before it can be put to practical use. This Special Issue provides an overview of recent research activities concerning force control technology in robotics with an emphasis on compliance and impedance control. The papers compiled in this issue include various topics of force control, such as compliant motion control, biological aspects of compliance control and this force control using different kinds of actuators. I believe that the contents of this issue contains useful information for researchers and engineers with interests in this area. Finally, I would like to express my appreciation to the authors for their efforts and contributions to this issue and also to the members of the editorial staff for their skillful assistance.