Nuclear Technology / Volume 184 / Number 3 / December 2013 / Pages 310-319
Technical Paper / Robotic and Remote Systems / Human Factors
A remote control system to operate a manipulator arm by the HAL (Hybrid Assistive Limb) robot suit is examined in the application of in-cell equipment maintenance. In this integrated system the operator wears the exoskeletal-structured HAL and the operator's movement is transferred through HAL's computer system to a slave-type manipulator arm. The system includes a bioelectrical signals (BES) control scheme and a position control scheme. In the former scheme, sensors attached to the skin on the operator's arms detect faint BES when the operator makes a movement. The signals are processed and analyzed by a computer to determine the operator's intention. The computer then calculates the necessary assistive power and the power units generate adequate power to each joint of the HAL suit to assist the operator. To evaluate the effectiveness and usefulness of the system, remote handling experiments were designed using mockup equipment, and the performance of remote operation conducted by the two schemes mentioned above was compared with that by the more conventional three-dimensional mouse control scheme. Of these three control schemes, the BES control scheme clearly outperformed the others in executing direct-contact tasks of in-cell equipment maintenance with small operation time and small variation.