Section: Research Program


HEPHAISTOS, as a follow-up of COPRIN, has a long-standing tradition of robotics studies, especially for closed-loop robots [4] , especially cable-driven parallel robots. We address theoretical issues with the purpose of obtaining analytical and theoretical solutions, but in many cases only numerical solutions can be obtained due to the complexity of the problem. This approach has motivated the use of interval analysis for two reasons:

  1. the versatility of interval analysis allows us to address issues (e.g. singularity analysis) that cannot be tackled by any other method due to the size of the problem

  2. uncertainties (which are inherent to a robotic device) have to be taken into account so that the real robot is guaranteed to have the same properties as the theoretical one, even in the worst case. This is a crucial issue for many applications in robotics (e.g. medical or assistance robot)

Our field of study in robotics focuses on kinematic issues such as workspace and singularity analysis, positioning accuracy, trajectory planning, reliability, calibration, modularity management and, prominently, appropriate design, i.e. determining the dimensioning of a robot mechanical architecture that guarantees that the real robot satisfies a given set of requirements. The methods that we develop can be used for other robotic problems, see for example the management of uncertainties in aircraft design [6] .

Our theoretical work must be validated through experiments that are essential for the sake of credibility. A contrario, experiments will feed theoretical work. Hence HEPHAISTOS works with partners on the development of real robots but also develops its own prototypes. In the last years we have developed a large number of prototypes and we have extended our development to devices that are not strictly robots but are part of an overall environment for assistance. We benefit here from the development of new miniature, low energy computers with an interface for analog and logical sensors such as the Arduino or the Phidgets. The web pages http://www-sop.inria.fr/hephaistos/mediatheque/index.html presents all of our prototypes and experimental work.