Torque Sensing for HMI Subsea Service Robot Joints


Member profile details

Membership level
2018-2019 Team
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Team Name
Project Title
Torque Sensing for HMI Subsea Service Robot Joints
Design Challenge
The method of joint control using position and velocity as feedback falls short when conducting more sensitive tasks. A more robust solution would be a torque-sensing force feedback control law that allows the arm to be more compliant and perform a wider range of tasks. Our challenge is to effectively utilize strain gauges in order to implement such a solution while overcoming the obstacles of temperature and pressure fluctuations that occur in the Aquanaut’s operating environment.
Design Summary
The torque-measuring system that we implemented involved applying shear strain gauges to the flexspline of the arm joint's harmonic drive. The harmonic drive is essentially a compact gearbox, and the flexspline is one of three components of the harmonic drive. The flexspline was chosen as the ideal location because it is one of the few parts of joint that is only externally acted upon by the on-axis torque of the joint, which we aimed to measure. It also sees strain from movement internal to the harmonic drive, but the strains are in a cyclical pattern as the joint moves, so they can be predicted and canceled out in a data acquisition system. The linear pattern between shear strain and torque can then be used to acquire torque from the gauge readings.
Date Updated
Wednesday, May 01, 2019
Houston Mechatronics Inc.
Sponsor Logo
  • Mechanical Engineering
Faculty Advisor 1 - Name
Marcia O'Malley
Faculty Advisor 1 - Department
  • MECH
Faculty Advisor 2 - Name
Dr. Matt Elliott
Faculty Advisor 2 - Department
  • MECH
Client First Name
Client Last Name
Client Company/Organization
Houston Mechatronics Inc.

Team Members

Award(s) and Recognition
Best Robotic Technology Award Winner

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