Design and Calibration of an Integration-Free Accelerometer-Based Joint-Angle Sensor

TitleDesign and Calibration of an Integration-Free Accelerometer-Based Joint-Angle Sensor
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsGhassemi, F., S. Tafazoli, P. D. Lawrence, and K. Hashtrudi-Zaad
JournalInstrumentation and Measurement, IEEE Transactions on
Pagination150 -159
Date Publishedjan.
Keywordsaccelerometers, angle-sensing mechanism, angular measurement, calibration, calibration procedure, heavy-duty manipulator, integration-free accelerometer, joint-angle sensor, nonlinear least squares estimation, position control, sensors

A methodology has been developed for indirect, noncontact, and dynamic sensing of angles for robotic applications. Two accelerometers are placed on the adjacent links close to the joint axis, and their outputs are processed to estimate the joint angle. In the proposed technique, the joint angles are obtained without integrating the accelerometer outputs. To ensure accuracy of accelerometer readings, two calibration procedures for the accelerometers are presented, which can easily be implemented in place. Both these methods solve a nonlinear least squares problem to adjust the offset parameters of the accelerometers. The accelerometer-based angle sensor is particularly suitable for the harsh working environment of heavy-duty manipulators, where conventional contact-type angle sensors cannot be deployed or problems are associated with their use. The performance of the new sensor is studied and compared with the performance of digital resolvers in two applications, involving the position control and dynamic payload measurement of a miniexcavator. The experimental results attest to the efficiency and accuracy of the new angle-sensing mechanism.


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