Monday, April 6, 2009

Collaborative R&D - It's what we do!

Quanser's new 6DOF Hexapod is a perfect example of what drives us at Quanser - Collaborative Engineering. Dr. Venkat Krovi at SUNY came to Quanser in search of a research platform he required. Working with his original specs and after a few iterations between Quanser and his research team, the 6DOF Hexapod concept was born!

Corresponding via phone and web, we developed a model of the Hexapod's capabilities. We allowed for certain parameters to be adjustable (such as lengths, transmission ratios and power). Dr. Krovi and his team varied the parameters until his required capabilities were met. The Quanser Hexapod team then setoff to design the new device.

Working with Quanser ensures researchers that their device will be delivered as part of a complete system. Using our modular and parallel approach to design, the hexapod utilizes our existing linear current amplifier's (2x QPA), our DAQ system (Q8) and our real-time control software QuaRC. In addition to these standard Quanser components, we also developed a motor brake control unit to engage the hexapod brakes when the joints are at their limits - this ensures that the powerful motors do not damage the device or worse, the load on the hexapod.

Once the prototype was manufactured and tested, we invited Dr. Krovi and his team to Quanser for training and demonstration of the device. They spent a full day at Quanser, first learning about Quarc and its features, then onto the Q8 and its capabilities and finally on the complete Hexapod system. Although the device met the original design specs, Dr. Krovi quickly noted that the rotational workspace was not exactly what he originally had in mind.

We brainstormed with his team to address this concern, and came up with a suitable solution – allow the hexapod legs to be adjustable. The final Hexapod design that was shipped to Dr. Krovi incorporated the adjustable lengths. Today, he is the first recipient of that latest in Quanser’s product line – the 6DOF Hexapod! Watch this short demo to see Hexapod in action.

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