William J. O'Connor (UCD Ireland): Wave-inspired understanding and control of under-actuated, flexible, mechanical systems

Wed, 06/21/2017

Everyone welcome at this special seminar. Our guest is Prof. W. J. O'Connor  (UCD Dublin, Ireland) whose pioneering work in wave-based approaches to control design inspired several of us. The seminar will start at 10:00 am in K14 seminar room, Karlovo namesti 13. The estimated time for the talk and the (moderated) discussion is 60 minutes. Free discussion may follow.

Abstract: The need to achieve rapid and accurate position control of a system end-point by an actuator working through a flexible system arises frequently, in cases from space structures to disk drive heads, from medical mechanisms to long-arm robots, from cranes to launchers. The system’s actuator must then attempt to reconcile two, potentially conflicting, demands: position control and active vibration damping. Somehow each must be achieved while respecting the other’s requirements. A wave-inspired understanding of these problems leads to control systems with many powerful and attractive features. The central idea is to consider the actuator motion as launching mechanical waves into the flexible system while simultaneously absorbing returning waves. This simple, intuitive idea leads to robust, generic, highly efficient, adaptable control systems, allowing rapid and almost vibrationless re-positioning of the remote load. Space structures are of particular interest, as the space environment provides little damping of unwanted vibrations, but frequently requires accurate positioning of structures which are often large and light by design.

Image: William O'Connor