Today we were introduced to the people of the “contact dynamics simulation lab.” They have a huge stewart platform(picture) that they use to simulate the actual docking of systems in space. After some discussions with the engineer who was most familiar with the system, we have decided on a few topics to work on for the summer.
First, we plan on trying to find a closed-form solution to the forward kinematics of the stewart platform. This would mean you could plug in all the lengths the legs are extended and find a precise location of the platform.
Second, we plan to research a feed-forward system to make the platform’s PID Controller adapt to inconsistencies in the mechanics of each leg. Since each leg is slightly different from the other, small differences in each leg can have drastic affects on expected output motion. With an adaptive system each leg would not have to be characterized and calibrated before use.