Digital Control Of Bilateral Teleoperation Systems

Hybrid analog/digital control of bilateral teleoperation systems can lead to superior performance (transparency) while maintaining stability compared to pure analog or digital control methods. Such hybrid control is preferable over pure analog control, which is inflexible and not ideal for realizing complex teleoperation control algorithms, and pure digital control, which restricts teleoperation performance due to a well-known stability-imposed upper bound on the product of the digital controller’s proportional gain and the sampling period. In this paper, a hybrid controller combining a Field Programmable Analog Array (FPAA) based analog controller and a personal computer based digital controller is compared in terms of performance and stability to its analog and digital counterparts. A stability analysis indicates that the addition of analog derivative term widens the range of teleoperation controls gains that satisfy the stability conditions, paving the way for improving the teleoperation performance. We also show how the hybrid controller leads to better teleoperation performance. To this end, we study the human’s performance of a switch flipping task and a stiffness discrimination task in the teleoperation mode. In both tasks, the hybrid analog/digital controller allows the human operators to achieve the highest task success rates.