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DOI 10.1007/s10846-010-9407-x

Robotic Systems

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Abstract In this paper, a hybrid supervisory control approach adopted for a non-

invasive medical robot called Focused Ultrasound Surgical Robot—Breast Surgery

(FUSBOT-BS) is elaborated. The system was built for the use in the breast surgery

with high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) as the means of the treatment. A

number of different control strategies such as PID and model-based control were

incorporated into a family of controllers to create the hybrid control. Depending on

the objective, the supervisory control determines the type of controller used for the

specified task so as to maximize the advantages of each of the controllers. Before it

was implemented into the actual robotic system the then proposed control approach

was modeled and simulated using Matlab®. This control approach was developed

based on a review of popular control approaches used in medical robotic systems, in

order to look at the feasibility of having a uniform control strategy for a spectrum of

medical robotic system. With unified control strategy it is possible to have a safety

standard regulation for the medical robotic systems which is currently difficult to be

done because of various control strategies adopted by each of the medical robotic

systems.

High intensity focused ultrasound

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Nanyang Technological University,

50 Nanyang Avenue, RRC, N3-01a-01, Singapore, Singapore

e-mail: swandito@ntu.edu.sg

S. Chauhan

e-mail: mschauhan@ntu.edu.sg, mcsunita@ntu.edu.sg

J Intell Robot Syst

1 Introduction

In the last decade, the development and implementation of minimally invasive and

non-invasive surgery methods in the operating room have tremendously changed the

ways that conventional surgery was carried out in the past [1, 2]. In a minimally

invasive or non-invasive surgery where great accuracy, repeatability, and stability

are needed, robotic technologies come in handy. The applications of the robots and

computer integration in these methods range from simple robotic arms to highly

complex surgical robots [1–3]. However, due to the delicate nature of the surgery, the

use of robots is highly restricted in the surgical room. A number a stringent require-

ments are also imposed to any medical robotic system available and/or under devel-

opment for safety reasons. Given this fact, numerous studies are done continuously

in order to improve the robotic systems.

There are many factors that affect the safe operation of medical robots such as

design limitations to do complex surgical manoeuvres, malfunction of the system’s

components and unpredictability of the working envelope especially for invasive

surgical applications. One measure that can be taken in order to improve the safe

performance of medical robots given these factors is to have a reliable control system.

Besides being used to move the system along a desired trajectory, control itself serves

a higher purpose such as to ensure the performance and stability of the robot during

operation thus enabling better outcome in its application in surgery. With appropri-

ate control architecture, a complex movement can be planned and executed more

accurately. The errors can be predicted and compensated prior to the application,

and in case of failure, it is possible to force the system to fail in a predicted and safe

manner. Hence, devising an optimum control strategy becomes a very important task

and should be dedicated to the objectives and design of robotic system [4, 5].

There are a number of medical robotic systems available either in the market or

used in research laboratories around the world. Various types of control strategies

are adopted by these medical robots [6–11]. However, most of them can be classified

into two types of control, model-based and adaptive control. Some of the medical

robots that adopt model-based control include ROBODOC, a robot for joint replace-

ment surgery which adopts a force feedback controller with velocity and position

reference [6]. Another one is Mitsubishi PA-10 robot arm, which is widely used in re-

search laboratories worldwide for application as robot assisted surgery whose control

is based on torque transmission [7]. Several model based controller approaches have

also been proposed and implemented into robotic system for laparoscopic manipu-

lation [8]. As for the adaptive control, a robotic prosthetic eye was reported to have

used a neural network based control system where array of sensors is used to detect

the movement of the natural eye and the control system coordinates the data to

give movement to the prosthetic eye accordingly [9].

Each of these medical robotic systems adopts a different control strategy to suit

the developer which contributes to the problem of unifying safety standards of

medical robotic systems. Safety standard is very important considering the stringent

safety requirements put on medical robots. Furthermore a considerable amount of

time is needed to develop a control strategy for a robotic system. It is desirable to

have a common control approach for medical robots similar to their industrial coun-

terpart, for instance proportional-integral-derivative (PID) control is used by about

80% industrial robotic systems available [12].

J Intell Robot Syst

In this paper, an optimal control hierarchy and strategy is proposed for non-

invasive applications that would help in deducing a unified safety regulation which is

highly desirable. Secondly, an optimal control architecture would help in making the

development phase of medical robots shorter leading to enhanced usage. A hybrid

supervisory control was chosen due to its capability in combining the advantages of

more than one control strategies for a particular application. The proposed control

approach consists of model-based robust control and PID control as its parameter-

ized controllers with a discrete time event controller as the supervisor. The control

was implemented into a non-invasive medical robotic system to justify its feasibility.

In doing so few experimental scenario were also generated. Section 2 of this paper

elaborates the development of the proposed control strategy. The details of the

derivation including the simulation are included. In Section 3, the implementation

and experimental result of the proposed control strategy is shown. Section 4 gives the

summary and conclusion for the applicability of this proposed control approach in

achieving the objectives.

2 Control Derivations

2.1 Background

For verification purpose, the hybrid control was implemented into a non-invasive

medical robot called FUSBOT-BS, devised at the Biomechatronics Group, RRC,

NTU, Singapore [13, 14]. As shown in Fig. 1, a part of the robotic system is inside

the tank with the HIFU module as its end-effector. An ultrasound imaging probe

is located at the centre of the HIFU module and is used for online scanning. There

are five axes of movement: vertical axis (VA), rotational axis (RA), horizontal axis

(HA), orientation axis (OA), and jig axis (JA), which will be explained further in

Section 2.5 (Fig. 5).

dynamics [15, 16]. The advantage of having a hybrid control is that more than one

type of control strategies can be utilized to perform a specific application where in

Bed

HIFU module

Robotic arm

Ultrasound

imaging probe

Mechanical

Water tank

structure

J Intell Robot Syst

that application, each of the sub-application may have different dynamics requiring

different control strategies [15, 16]. Depending on its predefined strategy, only one

particular control from a family of controllers will be operating at a time. Thus, the

system needs to have a logic-based switcher to change the operating controller at

a specific condition. This switcher, based on its algorithm will switch the operating

controller upon either internal or external event. This pre-dominant logic component

is generally called a supervisor [17, 18]. The logic component could be either one

of the controls implemented into the system or an independent algorithm or even

a human operator. The overall responsibility of a multi-controller supervisor is to

decide when to switch controller (scheduling) and which controller to switch to next

(routing) [19].

Among various control approaches, proportional-integral-derivative (PID) was

chosen as one of the candidates given its strength such as ease of implementation,

able to be implemented into various systems, etc. PID controller is very popular

especially for industrial robotic systems. In fact, a wide range of PID controllers and

PID tuning software are available in the market. However, even though generally

the PID controller can give the desired result in terms of the system’s performance

(accuracy, repeatability), it also has some weaknesses especially in the situation

where rapid disturbances or time-varying parameters are expected [20, 21].

In a medical environment, rapid disturbances or time-varying parameters may

exist due to the presence of human as an operator and as a subject of operation even

though other operating condition e.g. position of the robot, room condition remain

the same. The possible threat from these unpredictable environments must be mini-

mized if not eliminated. Thus, having a different control approach either to be imple-

mented competitively or as complimentary to the PID controller is necessary. Some

control approaches from the model-based control and non-model based control are

the candidates.

The PID control adopted is a non-model based PID control. Hence, it is logical

to have a model-based control instead of another non-model based control as a

comparative or complimentary control approach. Model-based controls have been

proven to be able to give a predictable result to the control objectives (e.g. stability,

accuracy) provided that the system’s dynamics is known. Furthermore, most of the

medical robotic systems reviewed adopt a model-based control approach either

implemented alone or combined with other control approaches such as PID control

approach, showing its wide acceptance among control engineers [12, 20].

In modelling the control system, the most difficult part is modelling the dynamics

of the robotic system. Dynamic parameters such as friction, backlash, inertia, Cori-

olis, etc. mostly are unknown although some of them can be estimated in known

situations. Furthermore, system dynamics change over time and thus, it could affect

the performance of the control system. Hence, in medical robots where the safety

of the patient and the reliability of the robots are highly demanded, dynamics may

pose as a big problem. Fortunately, for medical robotic systems, the system dynamics

generally remain the same over time (no strong external and internal disturbances)

and this makes it suitable for a model-based controller. During its operation, a

medical robotic system most of the time does not repeat the same movement (e.g.

the trajectory of the arm) even though the operation procedure may be the same

(e.g. moving the arm to the target area). Thus, a non-model based control approach

such as adaptive-learning control is not suitable for a medical robotic system.

J Intell Robot Syst

continuous part is represented by a set of nonlinear ordinary differential equations

(ODE) of the continuous dynamics. On the other hand, the discrete part is described

by the discrete event controller which is connected to the system in a feedback

configuration through an interface (i.e. partitioning of its state-space). The math-

ematical modelling of the hybrid supervisory control of the FUSBOT-BS which is

shown here is inspired by the modelling developed by Koutsoukos et al. [17], due to

its suitability to the system and relatively simple to be implemented. Figure 2 shows

the general block diagram of the FUSBOT-BS hybrid supervisory control.

The controller/supervisor is a discrete event system modelled as a deterministic

finite automaton. The automaton is specified by S = ( δ, φ), where

R,

S, X, S is the

set of states obtained from the system states condition (e.g. position, angle, etc.), X

is the set of plant symbols generated by the plant, R is the set of controller symbols

generated by the supervisor, δ is the state transition function, and φ is the output

function. Between the supervisor and the hybrid system, there is an “interface”.

The supervisor and the system communicate via the interface which converts the

continuous time signal to sequences of symbols understood by the supervisor and

vice versa. The interface system consists of generator and actuator sub-system. The

generator generates plant symbol to the supervisor upon plant event. On the other

hand, actuator converts supervisor’s decision into input signal for the plant [17].

In the case of FUSBOT-BS, the plant event is defined by specifying several

“hypersurfaces”. Hypersurface refers to the borderline/partitioning line that divides

set of state space into few regions. If the state crosses the hypersurface from one

partition to another partition which has been pre-determined, the event occurs. The

hypersurface state is specified based on the error data generated by experimental test

with stand alone PID position controller (as explained in Section 2.4). From these

data, position and velocity range of the manipulator is partitioned. The variation

of the state variables of the hybrid control strategy is chosen to be “steady state”

J Intell Robot Syst

variation. In this variation, the values of the state variables at the end of one control

section are used as the initial conditions for the following control section. The plant

symbol is generated by the interface to the supervisor according to the function

shown in the following:

αi : N (hi ) → X (1)

system. N(hi ) is the function that correlates the hypersurface with its plant symbol.

And the sequence of the plant symbols is described by:

x [n] = αi (x (τe [n])) (2)

where (τe [n]) is the time of the nth plant event, with τe [0] = 0.

After the supervisor receives the plant event symbol from the interface, it will

analyze it and then generate supervisor symbol to the interface which in turn will

generate appropriate command to the system. In between generation of the two

symbols there is a time delay. This is undesirable as it could cause a problem to the

controller especially when more than one plant events occur within the period of the

time delay. This can be avoided if the supervisor can estimate when the plant event

will take place [22, 23].

Once the plant symbol is received by the supervisor, the supervisor determines

which controller is suitable for the next system states. Considering the equations

for the nonlinear time-invariant system expressed by a set of ODE, the system,

·

x = X(x, u, v, t), y = H(x) with control input u, output y, with positioning error

[eT ≈ r − y] where r is reference point, is governed by a hybrid controller with

event driven logic switcher. The goal of the logic switcher is to change the controller

(generating output [φ]) in order to bring eT ≈ 0.

Let p is the ith number of the plant event for i = 1, 2, · · · , m. p is a subset of a

function of real, finite number P. X EP denotes the state-space variable at p. For

each p ∈ P, e p ≈ y p − y denotes the p output estimation error. π p is the “normed”

value of e p or a performance signal, which

is used by the supervisor to assess the

potential performance of controller p. s is a switching logic whose function is to

determine σ based on the current value of π p . This estimator-based supervisor from

time to time when the plant event occurs selects for candidates’ control signal [ν p ]

whose corresponding performance signal π p is the smallest among the π p s, for [ p ∈

P]. Since FUSBOT-BS has only two continuous controllers (PID and model-based)

to be chosen it is relatively simpler and fast.

The automaton is specified by G = ( R,

S, X, ψ, λ), where S is the set of states

variables, X is the set of plant symbols, R is the set of controller symbols, ψ is

the state transition function, and λ is the output function. Since FUSBOT-BS has

only two continuous controllers, the controller symbol is R = {r1 , r2 }. The actuator

generates two possible outputs to plant which are,

−1 if

r = r1

λ (

r) = (3)

1 if r = r2

In which −1 refers to model-based robust controller and 1 refers to the PID con-

troller. After receiving the deciphered supervisor symbol, the plant will implement

J Intell Robot Syst

recognizes six plant events in terms of region profile.

h1 (x) = x1 h2 (x) = x2 h3 (x) = −x2

(4)

h4 (x) = x3 h5 (x) = −x3 h6 (x) = −x4

These events are generated when the end-effector crosses either x1 , x2 , or x3 axis

which partitions the x–y plane region of the robot manipulator workspace as shown

in Fig. 3. The negative sign occurs when the state crosses the hypersurface from inside

and vice versa. Symbols generated by the plant are as follows:

α1 (x) =

x1 α2 (x) = x2 α3 (x) = −x2

(5)

α4 (x) =

x3 α5 (x) = −x3 α6 (x) =

x4

Different gains were generated through trial and error (heuristic) approach for

the PID controller based on its position, velocity, and acceleration profiles. The

procedure for gain generation was as follows,

1. All the possible movements of the individual motors were determined,

2. A range of possible distances for each configuration for each of the available

possibility in point 1 was defined (e.g. 2,500, 10,000, 50,000 encoder counts, etc).

The range of distances was chosen based on the anthropomorphic human data

and the common location of the breast cancer occurrences,

3. The tolerable position error and motor stability (by observation) were defined

and based on that the PID terms were varied one by one to obtain the optimum

PID set-up,

4. Using the PID gains obtained, the speed and acceleration were varied. The

range of speed and acceleration where the motor can give optimal performance

according to the objectives were then determined.

Figure 4a–f show the movement error of each of the axes in various distances using

the obtained optimum PID gains.

The PID gains generated through the testing and the movement error of each axis

with respect to the travel distance for different directions of movement are shown in

Fig. 4a–f. Qualitatively there was no instability observed during test movements in

J Intell Robot Syst

distance (JA). b Movement a

errors vs. distance (OA). 0.6

c Movement errors vs. distance 0.5

Upwards

Error (mm)

(HA). d Movement errors vs. 0.4

Downwards

distance VA. e Movement 0.3

Up-Dn

errors vs. distance (RA-CCW). 0.2

f Movement errors vs. distance Limit

0.1

(RA-CW) 0

0 5 10 15

Travel Distance(mm)

b

0.4

0.35

Error (degrees)

0.3 Clockwise

0.25 Counterclockwise

0.2

0.15 Cw-Ccw

0.1 Limit

0.05

0

0 10 20 30 40 50 60

Travel Distance (degrees)

c

0.7

0.6

Forwards

Error (mm)

0.5

0.4 Backwards

0.3 Fw-Bw

0.2 Limit

0.1

0

0 50 100 150

Travel Distance (mm)

d 0.6

0.5

Upwards

Error (mm)

0.4

Downwards

0.3

Up-Dn

0.2

Limit

0.1

0

-10 10 30 50 70

Travel Distance (mm)

e 0.8

0.7

Error (degrees)

0.5

2nd 120 deg

0.4

0.3 3rd 120 deg

0.2 Limit

0.1

0

0 40 80 120

Travel Distance (degrees)

J Intell Robot Syst

Fig. 4 (continued)

f 1.2

1

Error (degrees)

1st 120 deg

0.8

2nd 120 deg

0.6

3rd 120 deg

0.4

Limit

0.2

0

0 40 80 120

Travel Distance (encoder counts)

the defined domain. One of the reasons for this might be due to a sufficiently low

optimum PID gains. Based on the actual movement errors, it can be found that for

certain movements a PID controller is not sufficient to give the accuracy needed, for

instance, the rotational axis as shown in Fig. 4f doesn’t satisfy the required accuracy

of system. Thus, for such cases there is a need to minimize its inaccuracy to acceptable

tolerance level.

In order to derive the model-based control, the kinematics and dynamics of the

system need to be modeled. For derivation of kinematics equations of the FUSBOT-

BS system, modified Denavit–Hartenberg (D-H) method was adopted [24, 25]. D-H

has become the standard robot kinematics model because of its physical interpreta-

tion, strict definition and multiplicative structure. Figure 5 shows the modified D-H

coordinate systems. The transformation matrix from the base of the robot to the end

effector can be derived by multiplying all of the transformation matrices from the

first joint to the last joint. The expression for the transformation T, can be written as:

⎡ ⎤

S (θ2 + θ4 ) −C (θ2 + θ4 ) 0 d2

⎢ C (θ2 + θ4 ) S (θ2 + θ4 ) 0 0 ⎥

End−effector

TBase ⎢

=⎣ ⎥ (6)

0 0 1 − (r1 + r2 + r3 + r4 ) ⎦

0 0 0 1

where, S stands for Sine, C stands for cosine, θ is the angular displacement, d is the

linear distance and r is the linear displacement.

In order to mathematically describe the dynamic properties of a manipulator,

a classical method from analyses of mechanics, Lagrange equation of motion, was

chosen due to its simplicity and systematic nature [26]. There are two types of

models, which are differential model and integral model. The first model requires the

measurement of positions, velocities and accelerations while the latter only requires

the measurement of positions and velocities [26, 27].

The differential model was adopted and the system’s dynamics is derived using the

generalized notion of relative position and orientation between links according to the

J Intell Robot Syst

FUSBOT-BS

d2

Foci

4 HIFU axis

Z

JA

r2+r4

OA 2, 3

HA

RA

VA

0, 1

X

O

XZ - Plane

for a kinematics chain can be written as [27]:

d ∂L ∂L ·

− = τi − Qi qi (7)

dt dq̇i dqi

where τi is the generalized force/moment which acts along the zi axis of the ith

coordinate frame, L is the Lagrange function (the

· difference between total kinetic

and potential energy of a manipulator), and Qi qi is the friction force acting on the

·

ith joint. Qi qi can be calculated from:

· · ·

Qi qi = Fiv qi + Fis sgn qi (8)

where, Fiv is the viscous friction coefficient of the ith link while Fis is the coefficient

of the Coulomb friction. The generalized coordinate which describes the movement

of the ith link is denoted by qi , and it can be calculated as:

qi = (1 − σi ) θi + σi ai (9)

Some of the actuators of FUSBOT-BS are not directly coupled to their respective

motors. Instead, they are connected to belt chains. Thus, FUSBOT-BS is classified

under a class of geared robots. Aside from dealing with the dynamics of friction which

J Intell Robot Syst

is also found in the direct drive robots, geared robots have to deal with transmis-

sion dynamics too. The friction force is hardly linear and in order to identify the

coefficient of frictions, identification testing is needed. It is highly difficult to achieve

an accurate dynamic model with the entire dynamics variables and its nonlinearity.

Fortunately, some of the variables is less significant, thus can be eliminated and some

can be linearized or treated as constant. Following are certain assumptions made for

FUSBOT-BS differential model:

1. Dynamics of transmissions are neglected.

2. Gear ratios are constant.

3. Friction force acting at a joint is linear with respect to the viscous friction

coefficient and coulomb friction coefficient.

4. The robot model is canonical.

The Lagrange function of a manipulator can be calculated as [27]:

L = EKc − EPc (10)

where, EKc is the total kinetic energy and EPc is the total potential energy. The

LaGrange equation for the FUSBOT-BS system can be written as:

·· · ·

τ1 = (m1 + m2 + m3 + m4 ) q1 − (m1 + m2 + m3 + m4 ) g0 + F1v q1 + F1s sgn q1

··

τ2 = I2zz + η2 Im2 + I3yy + η2 Im3 + I4zz + η2 Im4 + 2q3 3 cz q2

·· ·· · ·

+ m4 4 cx Cq4 − m4 4 c y Sq4 + 3 cx q3 + I4zz + η2 Im4 q4 + 23 cz q2 q3

· · · ·

− m4 4 c y Cq4 + m4 4 cx Sq4 + 3 cx q3 q4 + F2v q2 + F2s sgn q2

3 ·· ··

τ3 = cx − m4 4 c y Sq4 q2 + m3 + m4 + m4 4 cx Cq4 q3

·· · · · ·

+ −m4 4 c y Sθ4 + 2m4 4 cx Cθ4 q4 − m4 4 c y Cq4 q2 q4 − m4 4 cx Sθ4 q3 q4

·2 ·2 · ·

−3 cz q2 + m4 4 c y Cq4 − 2m4 4 cx Sq4 q4 + F3v q3 + F3s sgn q3

·· ·· ··

τ4 = I4zz + η2 Im4 q2 + 2m4 4 cx Cq4 − m4 4 c y Sq4 q3 + I4zz + η2 Im4 q4

· · · ·

− m4 4 c y Cq4 + 2m4 4 cx Sq4 q3 q4 + F4v q4 + F4s sgn q4 (11)

where mii ci is the first moment of ith link, g0 is the gravitational constant, q is the

· ··

generalized joint coordinates, q is the generalized joint velocity, q is the generalized

joint acceleration, η is the inertia ratio, and i Ii is the (3 × 3) vector of inertia of the

ith link.

dynamics parameters is of significant importance. Some dynamics parameters (e.g.

inertia) can be easily calculated and some such as friction and beam effect parameters

need to be validated through experiments. These dynamics were modelled and

J Intell Robot Syst

validated due to their significant effects on the accuracy and movement of the

manipulator. The nominal parameters such as the friction parameters are obtained

from experiments with respect to the system’s dynamics mentioned in Section 2.5.

The experiments are designed in such a way that the desired dynamics parameters

could be excited at a given time while keeping other parameters constant. A number

of experiments were done for each of the dynamic parameters obtain for more

accurate results.

Friction is a common phenomenon that occurs in any mechanical system. It is unde-

sirable in most of the cases because it causes errors in position and induces tracking

inaccuracy. In modelling the friction, there are two widely used models, static friction

model and dynamic friction model [28, 29]. In a static friction model, the friction is

modeled into few different components such as coulomb friction, viscous friction,

stiction and Stribeck with each of the components representing different aspects

of the friction force. On the other hand, in the dynamic friction model, instead of

having linear or constant friction components, its friction changes as a function of

variations in temperature, position, etc. Dynamics model has an advantage in terms

of its preciseness compared to the static model especially when the variation of the

variables is significant during the operation of the mechanical systems. However, it

has to be noted that with the increasing complexity of the dynamic friction model

there is a consequent increase in the computational complexity. Furthermore, in a

lot of cases, static friction model is more than enough to give the estimation of the

friction in a system [29, 30].

LuGre model of the dynamic friction model was chosen due to its completeness

and reasonable complexity compared to other friction models [28]. In fact it is

the most widely used model for modelling friction in mechanical systems. LuGre

dynamic friction model can be reduced to static friction model by omitting the

dynamic parameters from its equation [28]. For FUSBOT-BS system, the LuGre

model used is the static LuGre model where the dynamic parameters were excluded.

One of the reasons for this type of the LuGre model to be chosen is that the friction

is affected by a number of nonlinear dynamic parameters. Hence, it is difficult to

model every parameter accurately and since FUSBOT-BS system operates in a

stable environment, most of the nonlinear dynamics parameters such as the tem-

perature, position of the system have little or no significant change. The parameter

identification procedure of the LuGre model is based on similar friction parameters

identification as reported in [28, 30] and is elaborated in the following.

The general LuGre model is linearized by giving it a linear viscous friction and

constant damping which is called “standard parameterization” and has the form,

dz |v|

= v − σ0 z (12)

dt g (v)

g (v) = α0 + α1 e−(v/v0 )

2

(13)

·

F = σ0 + σ1 z +α2 v (14)

where denotes the average bristle deflection which is determined by the velocity.

Bristle deflection in this case refers to the force that originates from the random

J Intell Robot Syst

coefficient of the microscopic deformations of during the pre-sliding displacement

of the bristles, is the damping coefficient associated with, model the Stribeck effect,

is the Coulomb friction force, corresponds to stiction force, is viscous friction, and is

the Stribeck velocity.

From Eqs. 12, 13, and 14, the steady-state friction characteristics for constant

velocity motions are given by,

Fss = α0 + α1 e−(v/v0 ) sgn (v) + α2 v

2

(15)

estimated from the experimental data. The manipulator motions were performed

under constant velocity, in which the input torque values were recorded. The friction-

velocity data were then obtained from averaging those data using Eq. 8. Different

constant velocity values ranging from −15 to 15 mm/s for linear motion and −15◦ /s

to 15◦ /s for rotational motion were used with at least 20 data points collected. This

was done in order to identify closely the Stribeck velocity, Coulomb and Stiction

friction force. The equations for friction-velocity graph are as follows [28]:

d2 x

J =u− F (16)

dt2

n

min ss (vi ) 2

Fss (vi ) − F (17)

α0 ,

α1 ,

α2 ,

v0

i=1

where, J is the total motor and load inertia, x is the position, v = dx/dt is the velocity,

u is the DC motor torque, F is the friction torque, Fss (vi ) are the friction values

measured during constant velocity (uss = Fss ) at velocities vi , and Fss (vi ) is given as,

ss = α1 e−(v/v0 ) sgn (v) +

2

F α0 + α2 v (18)

Matlab (version 7.0) was used to find out the four static parameters (α0 , α1 , α2 , v0 )

of Eq. 15. Using Matlab optimization toolbox, the static parameters of the friction

model were calculated by minimizing the Eq. 15. An initial solution of zero was used

for each of the linear variables for initial datum. The optimization function found

the closest variables to minimize the function. These nominal values obtained were

used in the control as the nominal static friction parameters. The frictions vs. velocity

graphs are shown by Fig. 6a and b. The nominal friction parameters for each of the

sub-systems are listed in Table 1.

In Table 1, v < 0 and v > 0 represents the negative and positive velocity/direction

respectively. It was noticed that the Stribeck effect was very small and thus was taken

as zero. The friction forces of the axes with respect to the velocities are shown in

Fig. 6a and b. The general graphs after smoothing (curve fitting) were found to be

similar to stiction + coulomb + viscous friction graph (Fig. 6c). As can be seen from

Fig. 6a and b, for FUSBOT-BS system, the direction of the manipulator’s motion has

little or no effect towards the value of absolute friction forces value.

The backlash for each of the gears mechanism used in the system was found through

manual calculation from the technical specification of the gears provided by the

J Intell Robot Syst

Fig. 6 a Friction–velocity

graph for VA, HA and JA. a 4

b Friction–velocity graph for

RA and OA. c Combined 3

general friction model for 2

static, coulomb and viscous

Friction (V)

1

friction

0

-16 -12 -8 -4 0 4 8 12 16

-1

-2

-3

-4

Velocity (mm/s)

b 4

3

2

1

Friction (V)

0

-18 -14 -10 -6 -2-1 2 6 10 14 18

-2

-3

-4

-5

Velocity (deg/s)

c

Friction

Force

-v +v

O

Sliding

velocity

Friction Vertical axis Rotational axis Horizontal axis Orientation axis Jig axis

parameter v < 0 v<0 v<0 v<0 v<0 v<0 v<0 v<0 v<0 v<0

α0 (V) 0.711 0.9027 0.439 0.3912 0.1796 0.2421 −2.119 −1.408 −1.8046 −1.330

α1 (V) −1.761 0.4473 −0.899 0.1878 −0.4294 0.0079 −1.081 4.208 −1.3964 3.730

α2 0.0064 0.0019 0.0026 0.003 0.0007 0.0012 0.0065 0.0051 0.0165 0.0133

(Vs/ec*)

v0 (ec*/s) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

ec* encoder counts

J Intell Robot Syst

manufacturer. This was later confirmed through experimental means from the input

and actual movement graph. A very small input (in terms of encoder counts) was

given to each of the motors and was increased until the movement can be seen from

the corresponding sub-system. In order to achieve an accurate measurement several

tests were done and the results were averaged. The mean value from both theoretical

and experimental tests was then calculated for each of the sub-systems (Table 2).

The HA module is supported at one end of the module while the other end is

unsupported. Thus HA shaft may behave like a cantilever beam. The deflection of

the HA shaft is expected due to the weight of the end-effector module during its

movement to the extreme end on the unsupported side of HA. This deflection will

affect the accuracy of the system and therefore requires to be compensated (Fig. 7).

The value of deflection (in millimeter) against the end-effector distance from

the central axis is shown in Fig. 5. The value was obtained through experimental

means where the height of the end-effector was measured against a fixed coordinate

system for some points along the horizontal axis. A polynomial curve was set to fit

all the measured points. The bending of the shaft affected the accuracy in vertical

and horizontal planes. However, the error due to bending was only compensated in

vertical direction since the error in the horizontal direction was very small even at

the extreme end of the axis (<<0.01 mm).

Matlab software developed by MathWorks, Inc. was used for simulation of the

proposed control strategy which was subsequently implemented into the FUSBOT-

BS. There are several stages in system simulation which include, building the user

interface, modelling of the system structure and modelling of the control strategy.

These stages were implemented by using various Matlab toolboxes. In this section,

the system modelling and its results are presented.

Graphical User Interface (GUI) allows the user to choose the type of controller

to be used and to give certain inputs to the control, such as the gains for PID

controller. The GUI provides an easy layout for user to specify certain inputs to

the Matlab model for both the test system specifications as well as the intended

control approach. The second stage is numerical modelling of FUSBOT-BS where

the kinematics, dynamics and control strategies are modelled using the modelling

blocks provided by SimMechanics and Simulink toolboxes and through the m-files

of Matlab (version 7.0).

parameters

Vertical axis 127

Rotational axis 216

Horizontal axis 232

Orientation axis 222

Jig axis 218

J Intell Robot Syst

deflection 5

0

-50 -30 -10

-5 10 30 50 70 90 110 130

-10

HA

-15

-20

-25

-30

y = 7E-08x4 - 2E-05x3 - 0.0009x2 + 0.0298x - 0.1661

-35

Distance (mm)

The system is divided into five sub-systems. Each of the first four sub-systems

correspond to the number of DOFs namely VA, RA, HA, and OA. The last sub-

system is the end-effector module. Individual links and their joints are modelled

accordingly including the sensors and the drive as can be seen in Fig. 8. The

properties of the model were generated by Pro/E (based on its exact part model

created in Pro/E space). The properties include the mass, centre of gravity (CG) and

inertia tensor of the actual part with respect to its CG or a chosen coordinate system

for control modelling purpose and could be obtained by precise modelling of the

parts and inputting the available information of the part (such as the material used

for each of the respective parts and their material properties). Machine visualization

as generated by Matlab is shown in Fig. 9. The body blocks, coordinate frames, CGs,

etc. are shown in different shade.

The dynamics model of the FUSBOT-BS was modelled using Simulink blocks

based on the derivation as elaborated earlier. By using the Matlab model, the actual

J Intell Robot Syst

Fig. 9 FUSBOT-BS

simulation structures

end position of the end-effector after a series of movements, given specific inputs,

could then be predicted. Thus, based on this information, the actual required torque

can be calculated and means can be derived to compensate the dynamic errors.

Matlab robust control toolbox was used in the robust controller modelling and

performance analysis of the axis [31]. It was inspired by the method developed by

Gu, Petkov and Konstatinov for general mechanical system [32]. For robust control

derivation, finding the control’s stabilization parameters is the most crucial part [34].

Assessment of the controller was done by using frequency response analysis with

robust performance and robust stability as the main focus in accessing the controller.

As each of the axes is similar and cascaded in structure and each of them is having its

own control input, a control simulation for one axis is similar for the rest of the sub-

systems with little modifications such as the value used for the weighting functions

and the possible perturbation parameters. Based on the kinematics and dynamics

derivation for the FUSBOT-BS given in Section 2.5, the robust controller derived

for the base sub-system is presented in the following.

The general expression of the dynamics of the system’s axis as derived in

Section 2.5:

·· · · ·

A q q +B q q q +C q q 2 + G q + τ f v + τ f s = τ (19)

where q is the (nx1) vector of generalized joint coordinates, A is the (nxn) manipu-

lator inertia matrix, B is the (nx(n(n − 1)/2) Coriolis coefficient matrix and C is the

(nxn) centrifugal coefficient matrix, G is the (nx1) vector of gravitational forces, τ f v

is the (nx1) viscous friction, τ f s is the (nx1) Coulomb friction, τ is the vector of joint

control input torques to be designed.

J Intell Robot Syst

Despite the intensive measurements and tests, the physical parameters of the

system can not be known exactly. Thus, approximation of the parameterized uncer-

tainties was introduced to the axis at certain intervals as:

mc = mc (1 + pm δm ) ; α2 = α 2 (1 + pα2 δα2 ) ; k = k (1 + pk δk ) (20)

where, mc , α 2 , k are the nominal values of the mc , α2 , and k. pm , pα2 , pk and δm ,

δα2 , δk represent the degree of possible perturbations on the dynamics parameters.

In this case, a nominal value of 0.2 was chosen for the uncertainty ( p) while

possible perturbations were chosen to be −1 ≤ δ ≤ 1. These values were chosen by

approximation based on the degree of preciseness in modelling the system. The block

diagram of the FUSBOT-BS VA with the upper LFT blocks of uncertain parameters

is shown by Fig. 10. It is derived based on the base sub-system’s dynamics (such as

the inertia, friction) as represented by Eq. 19.

The transfer function matrix G f b s1 in Fig. 11 represents the nominal transfer

function of the base sub-system including model uncertainties. Δ is unknown, but

is assumed to be stable because it is parameterized and satisfies the condition

A∞ < 1. d is the external disturbances acting on the system. The transfer functions

from d to e as depicted by Eq. 19 have to be small in terms of the norm (·∞ ) for

every possible uncertainties represented by matrix Δ.

−1

ep W p I + G f b s1 K

= −1 d (21)

eu Wu K I + G f b s1 K

The block diagram of the VA with model-based controller and associated uncertain-

ties is shown in Fig. 11. The input to the transfer matrix G f b s1 has five elements

in it (three input uncertainty parameters, external disturbance and control) and the

output has six elements in it (three output uncertainty parameters, system error

e p , control error eu and controller input). The value of the weighting function was

obtained through trial and error. Finding the value for the weighting functions is a

crucial step in designing a robust controller especially in a complex system. There

is no unique solution to the weighting functions. The number of trials done and

the experience of the control engineers are contributing factor in choosing a good

weighting function value.

For the VA, the μ-synthesis was done using D-K iteration method of robust

controller due to its simplicity and good performance. Following the closed-loop

structure of the VA as shown in Fig. 11, P(s) denotes the transfer function of the

base sub-system with uncertain

parameters

J Intell Robot Syst

closed-loop structure

matrix system G f b s1 with five inputs and six outputs. The block structure of P(s),

which is F , can be written as follows:

0

p := : ∈ 3×3 , F ∈ C1x2 (22)

0 F

The uncertainty block represents the uncertainties of the parameters in the

dynamics modelling of the system, the second block F is the fictitious uncertainties

block introduced to represent the performance requirement for the μ-synthesis of

the robust controller. Following that, an optimization to reduce the maximum value

of μ is derived as follows:

min min

K Dl (s) , Dr (s) Dl (s) F L (P, K) Dr−1 (s)∞ (23)

stabilizing stable,min .phase

⎡ ⎤ ⎡ ⎤

d1 (s) 0 0 0 d1 (s) 0 0 0

⎢ 0 d2 (s) 0 ⎥ ⎢ ⎥

Dl (s) = ⎢

0 ⎥ Dr (s) = ⎢ 0 d2 (s) 0 0 ⎥

⎣ 0 0 d3 (s) 0 ⎦ ⎣ 0 0 d3 (s) 0 ⎦

0 0 0 d4 (s) I2 0 0 0 d4 (s) I2

where, d1 (s), d2 (s), d3 (s), d4 (s) are the scaling transfer functions. μ-synthesis is about

finding the smallest construction of stabilizing controller K in which the desired

performance can be achieved over a range of frequencies. This can be obtained

provided the following conditions are satisfied:

μ P F L (P, K) ( jw) < 1 (24)

−1

W p I + FU G f b s1 , K

−1 <1 (25)

Wu K I + FU G f b s1 , K

∞

The μ-synthesis using D-K iteration was executed by using Matlab Robust Control

Toolbox. Table 3 shows the summary of the μ-controller D-K iteration. At the third

iteration, the peak-value of μ was equal to 0.983 for frequency range of 10−2 –104 .

The peak-value of μ is smaller than one indicating that the system is able to achieve

iteration summary

Iteration number 1 2 3

Controller order 4 14 16

Total D-scale order 0 10 12

Gamma achieved 11.136 1.021 0.983

Peak μ value 2.613 1.019 0.983

J Intell Robot Syst

the required robust performance using the chosen controller (Eq. 24). The μ value is

achieved by sixteenth order controller which is pretty high. As one of the objectives

of the controller is to find the simplest and smallest stabilizing parameters, there is a

need to reduce the order of the controller to simplify the computations.

Once the controller is derived, its robust stability and performance need to be

assessed. The robust stability of the controller is shown in Fig. 12. From the figure, it

can be seen that the μ-controller was robust and stable and Eq. 24 was satisfied. The

J Intell Robot Syst

performance of the system with controller is shown in Fig. 13 and it can be seen that

the robust performance was achieved by the system as the magnitude of the left hand

side of Eq. 25 was below the criterion (in this case is 1) over the specified frequency

range.

The controller order at the third iteration was sixteen which was required to be

reduced while retaining the controller’s performance. In the case of the base sub-

system, the controller order could be reduced to fourth order by utilizing the Matlab

robust control toolboxes using the Hankel-norm approximation [31]. The fourth

order controller was able to give a similar performance as the sixteenth order.

The existing control software system for the FUSBOT-BS system comprises:

2. Image capture and display

3. HIFU control

The source code of the software system was written using Microsoft Visual C++

(MSVC). The program for robot motion comprises of few clusters.

1. Initialization where the robot axes are initialized and moved to the home

position, setting the motion parameters such as the default speed of the motor

and the PID default parameters

2. User selects treatment points through the user interface.

3. The robot guides the end-effector based on the point(s) selected on images

mapped to robotic workspace. Robot movement and treatment points are closed-

loop which cease to move under user instruction.

In the robot movement cluster, the modified control is added. The user is able to

choose whether to apply the default PID control, model-based control or the Hybrid

control (which consist of PID and model-based control as explained in the previous

section). For C++ and Matlab interfacing, appropriate files and their associated

library were included. For online computation, the time delay for the movement to

take place should be minimized.

The general block diagram of the system’s architecture showing the interaction

between the software, hardware and instrumentation is shown in Fig. 14. The user

selects the target point, treatment method, etc. from the GUI. The images shown in

the GUI are generated by the imaging system comprising of a camera and imaging

software as explained later in this section. Once the target and treatment method are

selected the control software will make necessary computation and moves the robot

manipulator to complete the specified task.

In order to analyze the performance of the hybrid supervisory controller,

experimental testing was done. A number of sets of predefined movement in all of

the four axes (VA, RA, HA and OA) were planned. These include different speeds,

directions and the range of motion. The parametric values were chosen based on the

J Intell Robot Syst

Start

Control Probe

Target Selection

Hybrid

Robot

Supervisory

Manipulator

Control Manipulator Move

Ref: Fig. 2

HIFU HIFU

HIFU Treatment

Control Probes

End

different combinations of the parameters and their value were used for different

motion.

In order to measure the actual physical movement of the end-effector an imaging

system was employed. The imaging system used a camera (Intellicam [33]) to provide

real time images of the robot’s motions which were then captured by a customized

imaging software. The camera was secured to a platform at a predefined mounting

position based on a fixed set of reference points. The positions of the end-effector

before and after the movement were recorded. The measurements of the axes move-

ment were performed digitally using the images for accuracy and stability analysis.

Calibration was performed before every test to ensure its accuracy. The actual

movements of the end-effector measured from the images were then compared with

the simulation results of the FUSBOT-BS for the same input. Figure 15 shows the

schematic diagram of the experimental testing.

the of the test measurement

method

J Intell Robot Syst

and HA axes experimental 0.70

results 0.60

0.50

0.40

0.30

0.20

0.10

0.00

0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30 32

Test Number

The outcomes of the accuracy test for each axis are shown in Figs. 16, 17, and 18. It

can be seen that in terms of accuracy, all of the axes of the manipulator are able to

give a good performance. The absolute errors are less than 0.5 mm for combined VA,

RA and HA axes, less than 0.35 degree for orientation axis and less than 0.3 mm for

imaging axis, when the model-based control was applied. All of the errors are well

within the tolerable error (which is less than 0.5 mm every axis) for the FUSBBOT-

BS system which uses 1 to 2 MHZ ultrasound transducer as its treatment probe. This

is due to the resolution limitation of the probe itself. There are some outliers e.g.

Fig. 16 point number 19 which might be due to some “hiccups” such as measuring

error or direct disturbance to the system either from internal (e.g. electrical power

inconsistency) or external (e.g. human measurement error) factors during the testing.

However, such occurrences are statistically insignificant (2 out of 90 points) and thus

the outliers can be safely neglected.

The comparison of the PID control and the model-based control in terms of the

accuracy in inner and outer region are shown in Fig. 19, 20, and 21. For the combined

VA, RA and HA axes of the manipulator (Fig. 19), model-based control proved to be

better in terms of achievable accuracy. Especially because of the vertical axis where

there is a slug when the break is released due to the weight of the manipulator, this

can be well compensated by the model-based control. Similarly for the distant points

(outer region of the workspace), model-based outperformed the non-model-based

PID control by giving about 30% more accurate results.

Figure 20 shows the comparison of control approaches for the orientation axis.

Overall both controls can be used since the errors are well within the tolerance (less

than 0.5 mm). However for the inner region, PID control performs better than the

model-based. This might be due to some assumptions in the derivation of dynamics,

experimental results 0.40

Actual Error (deg)

0.35

0.30

0.25

0.20

0.15

0.10

0.05

0.00

0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30 32

Test Number

J Intell Robot Syst

experimental results 0.35

0.30

0.25

0.20

0.15

0.10

0.05

0.00

0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30 32

Test Number

and HA axes error 0.6

comparisons

0.5

Error (mm)

0.4

0.3

0.2

0.1

0

Inner Outer Overall

Position

PID Model-Based Hybrid

comparisons

0.3

0.25

Error (mm)

0.2

0.15

0.1

0.05

0

Inner Outer Overall

Position

comparisons 0.25

0.2

Error (mm)

0.15

0.1

0.05

0

Inner Outer Overall

Position

J Intell Robot Syst

because in the inner region some dynamics parameters such as gravity is modeled

as having little or no significant effects but in real practice the assumption might

not be true. For imaging axis (Fig. 21), the dynamics has little effect in the inner

region thus, PID and model-based performed similarly well. However, for the outer

region, model-based control performs better due to its rigorously modeled dynamics.

Overall, the performance of the model-based control is better compared to the PID

control.

“Inner” refers to the inner circular region (color green) of the manipulator

workspace. “Outer” refers to the centre and outer circular region (color yellow and

red) of the manipulator’s workspace (Fig. 3). “Overall” refers to the combined inner

and outer.

In terms of repeatability, a very good performance is achieved with absolute errors

less than 0.1 mm. From the tests it was concluded that for the outer region, model-

based is a good choice and for inner region PID should be chosen due to its good

performance and less computation. Hybrid controller is able to make use of any of

these types of controllers within the specified workspace’s region. Thus, it is able to

get the best out of the two controllers for better overall system performance.

4 Discussions

In the hybrid approach, the choice of the control scheme is based on the surgi-

cal protocol since the type, extent and sequence of movements are different for

specific application scenarios. In certain cases, the trajectory planning and boundary

conditions may involve replaceable end-effectors. For instance, in the FUSBOT-

BS system, different work-space limits (please refer to Fig. 3) cater to different

applications: inner annulus for breast surgery and outer ones for trans-abdominal

reach. For each scenario, a suitable control approach under the family of controllers

is used. Based on the results presented in the previous section (Fig. 4), the PID

approach from the hybrid controller is chosen for breast application. However, for

the abdominal configuration, the end-effector has to go to the extreme end of the

available workspace, where as indicated in the experiments, the centre of gravity

and cantilever beam effect have significant contributions to the performance of the

system. Thus, in this case the model-based approach is more suitable and would be

automatically chosen by the hybrid controller. Test Results of Fig. 22 shows that the

inaccuracy is less than the error tolerance. It also proves the earlier claim that the

hybrid control works well for robotic system with more than one system’s dynamics

(for example system with more than one configuration or working in two or more

different environments).

The controller parameters were obtained through simulation and experimentally

tested for the system. The outcome was then used to refine the control parameters

until certain performance standards (e.g. accuracy and repeatability) were achieved.

Furthermore it was necessary that the experiments were done in such a way that the

parameters to be obtained could be excited, while having the other variables kept

constant and/or zero.

The application and hence the configuration can be predefined in the planning

stage before the surgery. However, in a possible scenario of a single application

using more than one annulus as well as parametric classification of system dynamics,

J Intell Robot Syst

different FUSBOT-BS

Configurations

configurations 0.44

0.4

0.36

Error (mm)

0.32

0.28

0.24

0.2

Abdominal Breast

Configuration

The added value of hybrid control approach is thus switching between appropriate

controllers by exploiting their relative advantage to improve the performance.

Secondly by having more than one controller, it can be extended for wider range of

application scenarios without having to change the basic configuration and control

architecture completely.

One of the main concerns in designing a controller is the stability of the controller

or the system, in general. For this particular control strategy the concern was

emphasized on the switching event when the parameterized controller is changed

according to the supervisory control decision. The possible instability due to this

reason was unproven during the experiments and simulations. This might be due

to the simplicity of the supervisory control and small number of “plant events” and

parameterized controllers used. An increase in the number of the “plant events”

and parameterized controllers and their effect to the system instability would be

interesting to be studied further. The weighting (gain) parameters have to be chosen

carefully in order to achieve the robust performance of the controller and the system.

Tuning experiences of the control engineers and the amount of ‘trial and errors’ done

are few factors that contribute to finding a set of robust control parameters that could

give good performance.

5 Conclusions

In this paper a common and optimal control hierarchy and strategy is proposed for

non-invasive medical robotic systems. In terms of safety, there are many factors

which contribute to the safety of the robot such as the mechanical design of the ma-

nipulator, the type of controller, the electronic hardware and trajectory planning for

fail-safe software design, etc. Control is one of the significant factors in determining

the safe performance of the robot. Medical applications demand complex protocols

and optimal trajectory selections, which may involve hybrid configurations. In this

paper, a hybrid supervisory control is presented. Using the FUSBOT-BS system as

the test-bed it showed that it had a better performance compared to the stand-alone

J Intell Robot Syst

controller. Hybrid controller has also been cited to be able to give better result where

dynamic of the system change considerably in its application [16, 17].

Model based control has been used in many medical robotic systems such as

in Robodoc, robots for laparoscopic surgery, etc. Meanwhile PID control is also

commonly used in wide range of applications due to its simplicity. The analysis

of the test data showed favourable result, in which the accuracy, repeatability and

stability of the robotic system were shown to be achieved within desirable limits. It

was also observed that hybrid controller worked well for switching between different

configurations.

In order to establish the proposed control scheme, it would be desirable to

evaluate systems with higher complexity for statistically large numbers of tests,

especially for invasive type of medical robotic applications. It is also recommended

that other control strategies such as fuzzy logic control to be combined for example

with the model-based control or to be added into the list of the parameterized family

of controllers of the hybrid supervisory control [38]. The performance of different

control combinations can be used as measurement parameters for establishing

generic performance standards.

Acknowledgements The authors would like to thank Ministry of Education, Singapore and Agency

of Science Technology and Research, Singapore for jointly funding the project.

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