Building a Better Robot
We are at the dawn of a new age in robotics.
Robots, or mechatronic devices (MDs) as they're called today, are in use at the bottom of our oceans (deep submersibles), and high above us in space (Canada's remote manipulator arm). Development of the next generation of MDs-capable of motion that incorporates electronic, computer-guided control systems-will rely on state-of-the-art computer models and plain old-fashioned ingenuity.
Canada is already an acknowledged world leader in the design and construction of MDs. While the past 20 years have seen dramatic advances in their design and function, those at the leading edge of MD research are preparing to take things much further.
Professor Clement Gosselin has won international recognition by applying "in-parallel" design principles to construct robotic mechanisms that are far stronger and more precise in their movements. This technology may one day be applied to the construction of flight simulators to make them more energy efficient, and more realistic in their motions. The next phase of Gosselin's research is aimed at designing reactionless robotic mechanisms-devices that do not exert any reaction force on their base. Such a device would be particularly useful in space.
Another concept that Gosselin wants to pursue is mechatronic integration. A design principle that demands the computer control systems of a device be developed in tandem with the design of the robotic mechanism. Current design strategies involve adding on the computer control package at a later stage with often disappointing results.
The Canada Research Chair will foster the development of mechatronic integration by promoting the concept within the robotics community. Many industrial robotics companies have already expressed their interest in Gosselin's work.