Moving Method of Space Robot Pushing Walls
Toshiaki Iwata and Hiroshi Murakami
Electrotechnical Laboratory, 1-1-4 Umezono, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8568, Japan
A method of motion wherein a space robot pushes against walls is proposed. This method is commonly used by astronauts during intravehicular activity (IVA). In the case of extravehicular activity (EVA), the method can be applied by pushing, for example, the trusses of a space station instead of walls. The proposed method does not require the use of thrusters, so that efficient motion is realized. To select experimental methods, it is noted that training on the ground is effective for astronauts so that they can carry out activities in an actual microgravity field. The robots were first trained in virtual microgravity, and the training effect was verified in real microgravity. As the virtual microgravity method, two-dimensional microgravity experiments using an air table was adopted. The robot was levitated above the flat table by compressed air. As the real microgravity method, three-dimensional microgravity experiments using a drop shaft were adopted. To train the robot, the relationships between motions and sensory changes and neural network techniques, rather than a computational model of the robot, were used.
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