Joao Moura (Student representative)

Research project title: 
Application of force control to a robotic manipulator for cleaning a non-flat surface
Principal goal for project: 
Develop a high-level intelligent controller that enables a robot arm equipped with an end-effector force sensor to trace the surface of an unknown non-flat structure by applying constant pressure normal to the surface.
Research project: 

There are several human everyday tasks that include interacting with constrained environments such as rigid objects. One example of such task is cleaning a smooth but non-flat surface. We easly handle this kind of interaction without breaking the surface or hurting our arms. We do it by properly adjusting our hand/arm position and stiffness.

A robotic system endowed with similar capabilities would be able to automate a significant number of operations that currently are only manually performed. One such operation is the cleaning process of the train cab fronts. 

For this operation the robotic arm has to sweep all the surface with roughly constant pressure. Even though the surface geometry is known a priory, its variability relative to the designed CAD model is significant enough to not allow keeping a constant pressure when only using position control.

Therefore, as any application that involves the interaction of a robotic arm with a constrained environment, it is essential to consider force control techniques such as compliant/impedance control and hybrid position/force control.

About me: 

I hold an Integrated Master's degree in Mechanical Engineering from University of Aveiro, Portugal.

I worked for a year at Bosch Thermotecnology, Aveiro, Portugal. As a developer engineering I helped develop the control system of a gas water heater appliance and supported its industrialisation.

I worked for a year and half in the CROB (Centre for Robotics and Intelligent Systems) at INESC TEC, Porto, Portugal. As a researcher I provided technical support to ongoing projects such as the European project - ICARUS.

I was a teaching assistant at Aveiro University for Servomechanisms and Industrial Robotics master courses.

My current research interests are manipulation, robot control, and supervised and reinforcement learning.