Mechatronics of holonomic mobile base for compliant manipulation

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In order to operate safely and naturally in human-centered environments, robots need to respond compliantly to force and contact interactions. While advanced robotic torsos and arms have been built that successfully achieve this, a somewhat neglected research area is the construction of compliant wheeled mobile bases. This thesis describes the mechatronics behind Trikey, a holonomic wheeled mobile base employing torque sensing at each of its three omni wheels so that it can detect and respond gracefully to force interactions. Trikey's mechanical design, kinematic and dynamic models, and control architecture are described, as well as simple experiments demonstrating compliant control. Trikey is designed to support a force-controlled humanoid upper body, and eventually, the two will be controlled together using whole-body control algorithms that utilize the external and internal dynamics of the entire system.