The paper presents an algorithm for the real-time evaluation of the actual end-effector orientation (pose) of general parallel spherical wrists. Conceptually, the method relies on the evidence that the pose of a rigid body is defined once the location of at least two linearly independent vectors attached to the body is known. The location of these vectors of the wrist end-effector is determined by the solution of the direct position analysis of some properly chosen kinematic chains (legs) of the manipulator. In order to accomplish this analysis, extra-sensors, which measure suitable non-actuated variables of the chosen legs, need to be placed in addition to the ones normally embedded in the servo motors, i.e. the sensors which measure the actuated variables. From a mathematical point of view, the algorithm is built on the Polar Decomposition of a matrix and has inherent least square features. Thus, together with measurement redundancy, i.e. more sensors (extra-sensors) than the mechanism degrees of freedom, the method also allows minimizing the influence of both round-off and measurement errors on the estimation of the location of the wrist end-effector. The method is general but, in order to prove its effectiveness, without loss of generality it has been customized to the solution of the (3-UPS)S fully parallel wrist architecture. Comparison of the proposed method, in both its general and specialized form, with others from the literature is provided.

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