National Technical University of Athens - School of Mechanical Engineering
 
Control Systems Lab
Evangelos Papadopoulos Research Group

Projects

Ongoing Projects

[1] PREDATOR << Pre-Development of a Launch Adapter Ring Gripper >>

 

PRE

 

This project focuses on the grasping of an on-orbit satellite (Envisat) from its LAR. Based on the design of the Envisat LAR, the ENVISAT dimensions and mass, the chaser dimensions and dynamic properties, as well as its dimensions, the dynamic properties, and the motion capabilities of the DLR manipulator, a number of studies will be performed, aiming at the identification of potential capture strategies, and the requirements for the Griper that are necessary for performing the capturing task, as well as the range of admissible errors in positioning, speed, tolerance in force transmission etc.

[2] Biomechatronic Epp Upper Limb Prosthesis

 

Screenshot 2017 11 24 15 03 56

 

  • Funded by: FP& - Marie Curie
  • In cooperation with: -
  • Period: - December 2018
  • More Information: N/A
Upper limb prostheses have made considerable scientific progress in the last 20 years. This progress though is based on velocity control, which is not the best option for subconscious control. Extended Physiological Proprioception (EPP) provides position control and has been proven to be better as a control methodology for upper-limb prostheses than velocity control. EPP is difficult to implement since it requires: (a) the use of a harness or a post-amputation cineplasty surgical procedure and (b) a direct mechanical linkage (Bowden cable) between the control site and the prosthesis. For the above shortcomings, EPP was abandoned in the later years. We propose a biomechatronics-based master/slave topology which is going to provide an EPP-equivalent control but without the use of a harness, cineplasty, or Bowden cable. The proposed control uses an implanted tendon force and position transducer (TETRA) in series to specific muscles/tendons implanted at the time of amputation, providing an input source for the commanding signal. This signal - conditioned inside the body - is transmitted wirelessly to the Master Motor Controller which will drive the prosthesis proportionally to the commanding signal. Position, velocity and force sensors on the prosthesis will be inputs to the Slave Motor Controller which will provide as output a tactor proprioceptive feedback on the skin of the amputated limb proportional to the position, velocity and force of the prosthesis. 
This output from the tactor is going to be integrated by the skin mechanoreceptors of the skin of the amputee and will provide a proprioceptive feedback status of the prosthesis which will be integrated subconsciously by the human and taken into account at the next commanding signal stemming from the position, velocity and force of the contracted muscletendon complex. This architecture will provide an integrated EPP-equivalent control scheme for upper-limb prosthesis without the disadvantages of previous EPP configurations.
 
[3] Adaptable Wheels for Exploration

 

Awe

 

The problem of marrying large-surface contact with unobtrusive wheels can be solved by recurring to adaptable designs. Adaptable designs may provide a solution as the conflicting requirements on wheels are fortunately dissociated in operation. E.g. small wheels are needed when the rover is stowed (but not necessarily when it moves), small steering radii are needed in cluttered terrain (but not in soft terrain), large contact surface is needed in soft terrain (where steering radii can be large). Therefore it is possible to envisage that wheels with the ability to switch among a discrete number of geometric configurations could provide optimal performance in a rather large range of operational situations.
To date at ESA there has not been any R&D into adaptable wheels. Past R&D proposals were dismissed with the assumption that adaptability introduced unaffordable complexity. However there has never been any serious effort to quantify the "penalty" of complexity and also to analyse whether the penalty is commensurate to the benefits in performance.
A rover placed on the Moon pole, which has unpredictable soil characteristics, needs top performance to accomplish its challenging mission. It is quite possible that adaptable wheels may provide the level of performance that the rover require and at the same time increased probability of succeeding.
The activity shall:
1. Perform a state of the art search into the previously published concepts of adaptable wheels and analyse them with respect to potential of use in lunar pole scenario
2. Define requirements for adaptable wheels in a lunar pole scenario with attention to the operational phase/physical environment where the individual requirements are applicable. Define test scenarios.
3. Perform a trade off of the concepts to select the one that best accommodate the requirements also in consideration of the means used to actuate the adaptation
4. Prototype a set of AWE wheels and a set of conventional rigid wheels fulfilling the same requirements
5. Comparatively test the 2 wheel sets on a rover platform in the test scenarios previously defined.
NTUA-CSL is subcontractor in the project.
 
 
[4] COMRADE - Control Management of Robotics Active Debris Removal
COMRADE

 

IThe project addresses the definition, design coding, verification and validation of the mission vehicle management (MVM) software for the Active Debris Removal (ADR) mission. The activity comprises the control and management of the spacecraft in combination with the control and management of a robot arm used to grasp, stabilise and hold the target with the aim perform the controlled de-orbit The focus is in the increase of the compliance to the mission operational and technological constraints and the achievement of high levels of Reliability, Availability and Safety of the control software.

 

Completed Projects

[31] hArmonised System Study on Interfaces and standarisation of fuel Transfer

 

In 2010 the cross-directorate Exploration Scenarios Working Group carried out a survey of space technology that could be used across different application domains, including the Space Exploration (robotic or not) one. Besides other important technologies, Robotic docking and refuelling were identified. In the exploration application domain, Robotic docking and refuelling technologies are essential if space elements, launched by separate means, need to be assembled and refuelled in space. Furthermore when RDV and refuelling technologies are developed and validated for a suitable orbit (i.e. GEO), these could be made available to commercial GEO communication satellites servicing. 
While there is still not much belief in civilian satellite servicing and refuelling, operators are puzzled by the fact that the technology is being readied in the military space sector. There is definitely the prospect that satcom satellite servicing may become reality within a decade. In the process of acquiring new spacecraft, which when commissioned will last over 15 years, operators are considering the opportunity to future-proof their new assets. Refuelling provision on a satcom spacecraft are possibly the cheapest and less problematic of all servicing provisions. Hence these constitute an affordable way to protect assets acquired now for a changing future in which satellite servicing may have become mainstream. 
To have any chance to be used in a future, these refuelling provisions need to be standardised across the industry. Therefore with this activity ESA intends, together with the European satellite producers (which manufacture commercial but also institutional satellites) to conceive and promote standard refuelling provisions that can be installed in present European satellite platforms. 
The proposed activity intends to: 
1) Perform a conceptual design of the provisions
2) Architectural definition 
3) Breadboard design 
4) Functional testing 
5) And possibly filing to a standardisation body of the above concept to achieve the status of recognised standard.
NTUA-CSL is subcontractor in the project.
  
[30] Educational Robotics as part of Educational Platforms
A cooperation program between ESA and NTUA which provides the opportunity to two NTUA students to work at ESA/ESTEC, under joint supervision from ESA and NTUA/ CSL. The goal of the program is to propose and develop mechatronic innovations for space robotics (orbital systems and rovers) to be used as part of ESA's educational platforms.
 
[29] Development of a modular ‘stepping locomotion’ system for installation on subsea trenching machines used for subsea energy cable burial - HexaTerra 
HexaTerra
  • Funded by: European Commission - 7th Framework Progamme
  • In cooperation with: 
  • Reference Name: HexaTerra
  • Period: - September 2015
  • More Information: HexaTerra Website
Offshore wind and tidal energy generation is becoming an increasingly important component of the world’s energy mix. Continued strong growth is predicted. However, a growing problem is manifesting itself within the industry. The submarine cables that are an essential infrastructural component of offshore energy now account for 80% of insurance claims related offshore renewables. Unfortunately, current practice is to simply lay these cables on top of the seabed without burial or protection, as the traditional tracked trenching machines originally developed for deep sea oil and gas applications are inadequate for the harsh coastal terrain. Cables are therefore exposed to numerous risks such as tidal forces, rock abrasion, snagging from fishing nets etc. Existing technologies cannot address this growing problem. HexaTerra will develop a novel solution to the problem that builds upon recent advances made in ‘stepping’ locomotion systems for traversing undulated harsh terrain. Using this solution the project expects to comprehensively address the problem of damage to subsea energy cables, thereby maximising offshore energy reliability, maintain renewable energy affordability, & minimise the marine environmental impact of cables. 
 
[28] Dynamics, Control and Design of Multi-joint, Variable Compliance, Quadruped Robots - Laelaps

 

This research program aims at advancing the state of the art in legged locomotion and more specifically in efficient and agile quadruped locomotion through the development of novel designs and control methods. The need for efficient and agile legged systems stems from the possibilities they open in traversing off road terrains quickly, in emergency tasks, in detecting forest fires, or in space exploration, to name a few. To this end, such systems must move efficiently and robustly, at higher speeds that are now available, and through changing environments. This research work will address these needs both theoretically, with the development of new tools and algorithms, and experimentally, with the design and development of a new highly articulated, variable compliance quadruped robot. Therefore, it is expected that it will contribute to the science of nonlinear dynamics and control, as well as to the design and development of novel legged robotic and mechatronic systems.
 
[27] Biomimetic Legged Robots Operating in Rough Environments - BioLegRob

 

Although legged robots have the potential to outperform wheeled machines in rough environments, they are subject to complex motion planing and control challenges and to balance-in-motion constraints. The aim of this research program is the integration of such capabilities into autonomous and dependable legged robotic systems through the development of novel designs and control methods, with emphasis on efficient locomotion. To reach our goals, our teams working with humans, animals, legged robots, crawlers and humanoids will cooperate employing an interdisciplinary approach. The expected results include: (a) an autonomous quadruped robot with multi-jointed legs and articulated body that can achieve fast and stable gaits through uneven terrains, (b) a multi-legged robot with flexible elements capable of robust locomotion through uneven terrains with its body in full ground contact, (c) the development of control algorithms for humanoids employing upper and lower limb coordination for stable gaits through uneven terrains, (d) a comprehensive study of the control and stability methods of humans and animals during locomotion through uneven terrains.
 
[26] Autonomous Servicing of On-Orbit Space Systems from Robotic Systems

 

 
[25] IMPACT-SMART - Active Control of Impact Response of Smart Sandwitch Structures

 

  • Funded by: European Commission - 7th Framework Progamme
  • In cooperation with: N/A
  • Reference Name: FP7-PEOPLE-2011-IEF - «Marie Curie Actions—Intra-European Fellowships (IEF)» 
  • Period: Octomber October 2012 - December 2014
  • More Information: Fanis PlagianakosImpact-Smart Website
 
[24] Ariadna Study: Space Gaits
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Initiated by: Advanced Concepts Team (ACT) of European Space Agency (ESA)

Reference Name: 4000105989/12/NL/KMLPeriod: 5/2012 - 7/2013
The goal of the Ariadna project is to systematically use Hildebrand diagrams or some equivalent methodology to analyse walking gaits emerging from an optimisation process in order to verify whether behavioral switches / bifurcations exist with respect to parameters such as gravity and soil type.
More InformationEuropean Space Agency (ESA) - Advanced Concepts Tea


[23] Study of the propulsion and control for small robotic fish

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Initiated by: National Technical University of Athens

Reference Name: PEVE 09, Period: 2009-2011
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[22] Identification and Assessment of Existing Terrestrial Micro-systems and Micro-technologies for Space Robotics
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Initiated by: European Space Agency - ESA

Reference Name: 22110/08/NL/RA, Period: 12/2008-8/2009
The project entitled "Identification and Assessment of Existing Terrestrial Micro- systems and Micro-technologies for Space Robotics" has been initiated by ESA with the objective of (i) identifying and assessing terrestrial mature Micro-System Devices (MSD) and Micro/ Nano Technologies (MNT) for possible integration in space Automation and Robotics applications (A&R), (ii) identify A&R components that may benefit from the introduction of MSD and MNT and (iii) introduce MSD and MNT in selected space A&R applications with the aim of creating low-cost miniature systems with the same or augmented capabilities.
More Information: European Space Agency (ESA) - Robotics & Automation


[21] Design and development of a sensor-based, differential drive mini robot

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Initiated by: Polydiadrasi

Period: 2008
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[20] Design and development of a dynamic positionning system for the platform "Delta-Vereniki"
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Initiated by:

Reference Name: Delta Vereniki, Period: 2008
The project aimed at the dynamic modeling and the practical implementation of an autonomous dynamic positioning scheme, i.e., the stabilization of linear and angular velocities as well as the position and orientation, of a floating sea triangular platform. The required, closed-loop force and moment must be provided by T&SSee rotating pump jets, located at the bottom of T&SSee partly submerged cylinders at the corners of the platform. With this control configuration the platform is overactuated, i.e., it has more control inputs than degrees of freedom. A control allocation scheme that allows goal realization without violating T&SSuster capabilities was developed.
More Information: NESTOR insitute for Astroparticle Physics, Information and Video from Personal Page of Dr. Vlachos


[19] Analysis and Control of Underwater Vehicles Propelled by an Oscillating Foil

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Initiated by: National Technical University of Athens

Reference Name: PEVE 07, Period: 2007-2009
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[18] Dynamics, Advanced Control and Implementation of an Autonomous Legged Robotic System

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Initiated by: National Technical University of Athens

Reference Name: PENED 03, Period: 2005-2008
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[17] Model-based Control of High-Performance Mutibody Closed-chain Mechanisms

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Initiated by: Greece - Poland

Period: 2005-2007
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[16] Development of a Flexible and Reliable Automated Warehouse System

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Initiated by:

Reference Name: ARCHEMEDES II, Period: 2005-2007
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[15] Advanced Research in Haptic and Simulation Technologies for Medical Surgery Environments

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Reference Name: PYTHAGORAS 04
Period: 2004-2007
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[14] Model-based Control for High-performance Multibody Closed-chain Mechanisms

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Initiated by: National Technical University of Athens in collaboration with WIT

Period: 2004-2006
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[13] Nonlinear Model-Based Control of Unconventional Robotic Systems

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Reference Name: PROTAGORAS 04
Period: 2004-2006
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[12] Modeling and Control of Microrobotic Systems

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Reference Name: IRAKLITOS 03
Period: 2003-2006
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[11] Planning and Control of On-orbit Servicing Space Robots

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  • Funded by: GSRT Funding, #035
  • In cooperation with: MIT
  • Period: 2003-2005
 
 Initial development stages of the NTUA 2D Space Robotics Emulator.

[10] Control of a Robotic Platform Cooperating with an Interactive Environment

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Initiated by: M.Santorineos

Period: 2003-2004
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[9] MiCRoN: MIniature Co-operative RObots advancing towards the Nano-range
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Initiated by: European Committee FET

Reference Name: IST-2001-33567
Period: 2002-2005
NTUA involved in the 3-year European FET Project: MiCRoN. I have contributed to the control architecture and implementation of the MiCRoN robots. More specifically we designed a control architecture that is composed by: (i) a high level simulation and autonomous execution unit that is capable for on-line multi robot navigation with collision avoidance properties, (ii) a trajectory tracking unit for manipulation purposes, and (iii) a low level position controller that performs position control exploiting machine learning algorithms. The entire architecture was implemented on a Linux platform using C++ object oriented development.
The project involved tight cooperation with research groups from the following European universities : (i) University of Karlsruhe (project leader), (ii) EPFL (Lausanne), (iii) SSSA (Pisa), (iv) Fraunhofer IBMT, (v) Sheffield Hallam University, (vi) University of Barcelona, (vii) Uppsala University.
More Information: Dr. Vartholomaios Personal Page


[8] Research and Development for a Mechatronics Center

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Initiated by: ANEM

Period: 2002
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[7] Development and Exploitation of a Training Simulator for Urological Operations

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Initiated by: European Committee

Reference Name: PRAXE
Period: 2002-2004
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[6] Autonomous Inspection of Subsea Telecommunication Cables, Power Cables and Pipelines

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Initiated by: European Committee

Reference Name: Growth, GRD1-2000-25150
Period: 2001-2003
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[5] Advanced Research and Training in Model-Based Control of Complex Multibody Systems

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Initiated by: Greece-Poland

Reference Name:
Period: 2000-2002
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[4] Design of an Active Control System for the Antiseismic Protection of Buildings

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Initiated by:

Reference Name: ARCHEMEDES 00
Period: 2000-2001
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[3] Design of an Endoscopic Operation Simulator

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Initiated by:

Reference Name: PENED 99
Period: 2000-2001
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[2] Design of a Small Washing Machine for Rinsing

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Reference Name: PAVE 99
Period: 2000-2001
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[1] Computer-Assisted Machine Operation


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Reference Name: IRIS III Networks of Excellence

Period: 1998-2002
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Completed Contests

[2] Demonstrate the use of DEAP material as artificial muscles in legged robots
 
  • Initated by: Danfoss Polypower
  • In cooperation with: Ν/Α
  • Reference Name: Innovation Contest 2010
  • Period: September 2010 - December 2010
  • More Information: N/A
TBC

 

[1] On-Orbit Servicing Test Module
 
The Young Engineer's Satellite (YES) programme, as all the other activities in the Education Projects Division of ESA (see below), offers students the possibility to obtain practical experience in real space projects and to enhance their motivation to work in the field of space technology and science, thus helping to ensure the availability of a suitable and talented workforce in the future.
The objective of this module would be to demonstrate the feasibility of a semi-autonomous robot that would test on-orbit servicing requirements such as approach and path planning methods, inspection techniques, satellite docking procedures and hardware replacement. Carried to orbit by the YES3 satellite, the module would consist of two main components: a mock-up satellite and a free-flying servicing robot.
Our team was shortlisted among the six best proposals, for further reviewing. Unfortunately the contest was cancelled before the next steps take place.
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