A force observation method for tracking control of flexible-link manipulators

S. Farokh Atashzar, M. Shahbazi, H. A. Talebi, F. Towhidkhah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper, a composite controller is proposed for single-link flexible manipulators exposed to external tip force disturbances. In the proposed scheme, the extended Kalman filter is utilized to observe the environmental forces and the Lyapunov redesign robust controller is applied to control the destabilizing effect of the observation errors in noisy situations. The observed force can be utilized in different applications (such as tele-surgical robotics) in order to eliminate the necessity of additional force sensors. This fact is important for structural miniaturization and cost reduction. The main contributions of this paper are (1) proposing a disturbance observation technique for in-contact flexible link manipulators (note that the challenge of Jacobian singularity is studied as a possible diverging factor of the observation) and (2) proposing the composite robust controller to eliminate the destabilizing effect of estimation errors. The advantages of the proposed control scheme over the conventional techniques are analyzed. Simulation results are given for a single-link flexible manipulator to illustrate the effectiveness of the composite control technique and experimental results are given to validate the performance of the observation method.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)669-677
Number of pages9
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2013


  • Extended Kalman filter
  • Flexible link manipulator
  • Force observer
  • Non-minimum phase systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • General Mathematics
  • Computer Science Applications


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