Design Disquisition on Modular Robot Systems
*Research and Development Center, Toshiba Corp., 4-1 Ukishima-cho, Kawasaki-ku, Kawasaki, 210 Japan
This paper describes subjects to address in modularity design for robots to find a practical and useful modular robot system using the present technology. It concerns module granularity, module scaling, hardware interface, and joint structure. The most suitable module granularity is on the simplified function level, where each module is self-contained, independent unit and the joint modular group consists of only joints with 1-DOE The modular manipulators can effectively achieve many tasks in practical applications without scaling on either joints or links, but with a common standard hardware interface. Furthermore, the joint module should be able to achieve rotation and bending in a single joint module of 1-DOE We propose a new design concept, TOMMS (TOshiba Modular Manipulator System), to produce a modular manipulator system that can be assembled into any desired configuration to provide adaptability to tasks, using a few kinds and types of modules as possible, without the weed for special handling such as modification of control software. A trial system, TOMMS-1, was developed to study the design of the hardware and software for TOMMS.