KineControl (2010-2013)
Project Leader: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Michael Hofbaur
Funding: Standortagentur Tirol (Translational Research), Austria
Approval date: 08.07.2010
Start of Project: 01.10.2010
End of Project: 30.09.2013


Serial manipulators represent well established machinery in modern industrial automation. Nevertheless, there is still significant potential for improvements, in particular, with respect to computational efficiency and reconfigurability. The cause for this potential is due to the complexity of the inverse kinematics problem, which defines a nonlinear mathematical problem with non-unique solution. Analytic algorithms for computing the inverse kinematics can be deduced for specific manipulators. However, the deduction process and the resulting algorithm are limited to a specific robot geometry and provide, in general, only one of the many feasible solutions. It is therefore almost impossible to integrate the symbolic computations in an automatic deduction procedure for arbitrary robot architectures. Hence, a change in the robot geometry requires one to start the algorithm design process all over again, which may cause high costs and long changeover times.

Research pursued at the Geometry and CAD Group at the University of Innsbruck( leads to a new and novel algorithm for the deduction of the inverse kinematics of arbitrary manipulators with six links. This algorithm utilizes geometric preprocessing and a generalized deduction procedure for the inverse kinematics that provides all possible solutions concurrently. Additionally, it can be embedded in an automatic design procedure for manipulators with arbitrary geometry.
The “KineControl” Project focuses on the integration of the new algorithmic approach for the kinematics problem within a model-based control scheme for industrially relevant serial manipulators. The Institute of Automation and Control Engineering at the UMIT will provide the necessary expertise on model-based control and will implement a reconfigurable serial manipulator as a test-bed for a variety of industrial relevant robot configurations.

Great attention will be given to an efficient implementation of the algorithm. This line of research will be lead by the Distributed and Parallel Systems Group of the University of Innsbruck( Possibilities for parallelism in the calculations will be evaluated and exploited in the implementation of the algorithm.

The implementation of the new algorithm on a manipulator system involves a great potential for improvements for the computation of the inverse kinematics of serial manipulators. With our novel approach we expect that it will be possible to develop a generic robot controller for a broad range of manipulator types for the first time. Moreover the knowledge of all possible solutions of the inverse kinematics problem opens up new possibilities in robot control, in particular for path/task planning and visual servoing.
KineControl is a research project at the Institute of Automation and Control Engineering, Private University for health sciences, medical informatics and technology UMIT (Austria), funded by Standortagentur Tirol (Translational Research), Austria.