This paper presents techniques used to model a two arm experimental robot developed at Iowa State University. Both arms are compliant and the robot operates in a vertical plane and is therefore influenced by gravity. The robot is being built to study different control strategies for robots containing compliant members. The system is built with extremely flexible members. This limits the required bandwidth of the control electronics, and mimics the flexible motions that are observed for stiffer faster robots.
The objective of this paper is to develop a reduced order model of the robot system and to experimentally validate the model. Validation requires that the model include gravitational effects. Therefore, an assumed modes model is developed which facilitates modeling of gravitational effects. In order to select the order and mode shapes for the model, an analytical solution is derived for a linearized continuous model. This is compared to the assumed modes model to determine the number of mode shapes needed to model the system. The final model, which includes shortening effects, correlates very well with experimental results.