Embedded strain sensing in flexible, collaborative manipulators for increased payload-to-mass ratio’s

Project Details


Collaborative robots, or cobots, are designed to work in close collaboration with human workers to decrease their workload. However, the weight that such robots can carry is very limited compared to their own weight, which limits their possibilities and usefulness. An increase in the payload-to-mass ratio can be obtained by making the cobot’s structure lighter. Traditional industrial robots are designed for stiffness. This makes it possible to accurately calculate the state at the end of the manipulator, called the end effector, using the knowledge of the joint angles and speeds. When the manipulator is designed for strength, a considerable drop in mass can be reached. The robot is then designed to be able to sustain a certain load, without damaging the structure, however, deflections
are allowed. The amount of deflection will depend on the load, motion and current posture of the robot. Therefore, it becomes impossible to accurately calculate the state of the end effector in the conventional way. This project wants to investigate the feasibility of using strain measurements, embedded in the structure, in addition to traditional joint angle and speed measurements to obtain the current state of the end effector of a flexible manipulator. Because of the flexibility, the manipulator will be more sensitive to vibrations. Therefore, a dedicated control strategy should be provided, whereby
a similar tracking performance as for commercial cobots is aimed for.
Effective start/end date1/10/1930/09/22

Flemish discipline codes

  • Field and service robotics
  • Human-centered and life-like robotics
  • Robot structures
  • Robotic systems architectures and programming
  • Sensing, estimation and actuating


  • robotics