At Blueprint Lab, we’re passionate about assisting Robotic Researchers around the world advance their capabilities within the underwater autonomous systems landscape. One such group are our long-time partners in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Louisiana State University (LSU).
A talented group of researchers who make up the Robotic Kinematics and Dynamics (RkinD) group in the iCORE Lab are pushing boundaries in underwater autonomy. Supervised by Assistant Professor Corina Barbalata, the team is using the Reach Alpha manipulator to design and test novel control and planning algorithms for underwater applications.
“The research is focused on extending the autonomy of underwater robotic manipulators through robust, efficient, and adaptable approaches.”
Their success in this research will have implications across varied industries and applications, and their strategies have been developed with a strong mathematical foundation. The RkinD groups efforts are inspired by real-world “applications in diverse areas including maintenance of oil-and-gas platforms, restoration of underwater ecosystems, sampling of underwater environments, or mine disposal operations.”
The bulk of their testing is validated on the Reach Alpha system, which they describe as being “the perfect platform for our research purposes, as it has ROS communication capabilities, and it allows for custom low-level control architectures to be integrated with the robotic manipulator.” “Its small size, easy deployment on fixed underwater bases or mobile vehicles, as well as its high accuracy made our testing procedures extremely rapid and efficient.”
Papers resulting from the RkinD groups research with the Reach Alpha manipulator include:
- “A reinforcement learning control approach for underwater manipulation under position and torque constraints”, Global OCEANS 2020, Ignacio Carlucho, Mariano De Paula, Corina Barbalata, Gerardo G. Acosta
- “Insights into a data driven optimal control for energy efficient manipulation”, Global OCEANS 2020, Ignacio Carlucho, Dylan Stephens, Corina Barbalata
Blueprint Lab will continue to work with research institutions around the world to implement cutting-edge applications using manipulators. Our most recent offering, the Reach Bravo, combined with advanced upgrades such as a 6-axis Force/Torque sensor, will provide a comprehensive manipulator system to implement novel algorithms.