This paper systematically describes the design and validation of a feasible control scheme for a robotic head stabilization system. Over the past few decades there has been a growing need for robotic systems to perform human rescue operations in the event of natural or manmade disasters. Before autonomous or remotely controlled robotic victim extraction can be realized, support systems with the capability to secure the head of a trauma victim in a manner that does not exacerbate existing spinal injuries needs to be developed. The paper starts with a brief description of one such previously developed robotic head stabilization system and examines the various functional requirements from a design and control standpoint. Detailed dynamic analysis of the system is done based on which a force control scheme involving Series Elastic Actuators (SEA) is proposed. The proposed control scheme is then tested on an ADAMS-MATLAB co-simulation where the dynamic head support system is modelled in ADAMS and the force controller in Simulink. Based on the results of the simulation, a physical prototype is integrated and the proposed control scheme is validated through experiments. The results of the simulation and experiment are analyzed, and improvements to the system are proposed for future experimentation. Based on the results of the simulation and experiments, the proposed control was found to successfully meet the desired control metrics in providing accurate force control for the head support device. The paper ends with a discussion on possible modifications to the overall system for it to be used in field robotic rescue.

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