Since my previous post, there have been three major developments in my project: I’ve finished and submitted all the blueprints for manufacturing in the university workshop; the first finished part was made; and I’ve started putting together the control software.
I submitted all the engineering drawings for the two robotic arms – both the master and the slave arms. They are going to be made in the university’s workshop. In fact, the handle used on the master arm has already been finished (pictured above). It was made using the university’s 3D printer – which I am still really amazed by. What surprised me the most was just how accurate the finished product was. Now I look forward to putting it to use in the finished prototype.
My supervisor, Dr. M. Hasan Shaheed, who was my personal tutor in the first and second year, and I have been looking at more applications for this technology. Dr. Shaheed has been looking into master slave technology for quite some time and so has had a lot of experience with it. So far, the healthcare industry seems the most promising and Dr. Shaheed has been working on contacting people in both the healthcare and robotics fields who may be interested in my project – all of which is extremely exciting.
As I also mentioned in my last post, I have begun working on the control system. My aim is to set up something simple and then implement it. Then the more complicated stuff can happen later. Like everything else in life, this process seems to be following the 80-20 rule: 80% of the effort goes into making it do 20% of what it’s supposed to – i.e. getting the motors to move. This is a pretty basic part of the control portion of my project, but so far, it seems to be the most time consuming. Because I am using new software and new equipment, there will always be a learning curve involved. The rest of the effort goes into fine tuning the controller so that it performs better. (I am sure that I will revise that statement in the next month once the controller starts to get more complex.)