Abstract

Cable robots have been used as haptic interfaces for several decades now, with the most notable examples being the SPIDAR and its numerous iterations throughout the years, as well as the more recent IPAnema 3 Mini manufactured by Fraunhofer IPA. However, these robots still have drawbacks, particularly their high number of cables required to maintain a high workspace-to-installation-space ratio. Using a hybrid-structure cable robot (HSCR) could prevent some collisions that occur between the cables and the user's body. More specifically, some applications requiring multimodal feedback could benefit from the flexibility that a reduced number of cables offers. Therefore, this paper presents a novel SPIDAR-like VSCR and its sensor-less force control method based on motor current. The purpose of this work is to clarify the advantages that a variable structure can provide for haptic interaction. In this regard, experimental results regarding the device's workspace and its force feedback capabilities are presented. Additionally, since real-time high-frequency updates are required for haptic display, we provide additional data regarding the control algorithm's runtime. Lastly, another experiment was conducted to study changes in user performance when using both the variable and the usual cable configuration. The results showed that feedback accuracy is maintained, and there are no drawbacks to using hybrid configurations.

This content is only available via PDF.