Simulation News Europe, Volume 20(3-4), December 2010

MATLAB-based Robot Control Design Environment for Research and Education

Simulation Notes Europe SNE 20(3-4), 2010, 55-66
DOI: 10.11128/sne.20.en.09995


Research in the field of robotics is tightly connected to simulation tools for many reasons. On one side, simulation supports the development of new advanced control algorithms and on the other side it is always not feasible to build a whole robot system to test some algorithms or it is not safe to perform tests on a real system (at least in the first design stages). In the paper we present an integrated environment for the design and testing of advanced robot control schemes, including visual tracking, force feedback on a single robot or in multi-robot applications. The kernel of our simulation environment is MATLAB/Simulink. The main capabilities are: the simulation of the kinematics and dynamics of manipulators, the integration of different sensor systems like vision and force sensors, scenarios for complex robot tasks, the visualization of robots and their environment and the integration of real robots in the simulation loop. The advantage of our system is the simplicity, which allows easy integration of different robots, sensors and other devices. Some of these can be easier simulated by using other tools. Hence, other simulation tools can be used for the simulation of different parts of the system and then these subsystems are integrated in out simulation environment. The other important feature is easy final testing of developed control algorithms. Namely, for final testing of the control algorithms the models in the simulation scheme are just replaced by interface blocks for real system and the user does not need to consider implementation details. Finally, to show the efficiency and usability of our control design environment we outline some typical experimental examples using our robots. We explain some typical control design procedures from the “pure” simulation to the testing of algorithms on real robots.