Teleoperation and Haptics

Teleoperated systems are devices that allow human operators to interact with remote environments: this is quite important in case of hazardous environments (e.g. nuclear waste disposal) and challenging/critical environments (e.g. space, deep water, surgical robotics). The key point in any teleoperated system is the design of a distributed control architecture: a controller at the master side where the operator is interacting with the haptic devices and another controller at the slave side where the slave robot is interacting with the environment.

Such control architecture has to be stable (i.e., no vibrations and divergent behavior are allowed) and should give high fidelity under any operating conditions and for any environment parameters. In a teleoperation system there are three main unknowns: the operator model, the environment model and the communication channel behavior when no dedicated network is used. On top of that there are the classic challenges of any sample-data systems: quantization, delays due to numerical integration schemes , interactions between the discrete-time subsystems and the continuous-time subsystems, measurement noises, exogenous disturbances, etc.