2002 Events:

March 13, 2002: "Distributed Robot/Motion Control via IEEE-1394 Serial Bus" by Mr. Chi Sha, Adept Technology, Inc.

Abstract: The presentation gives a close look at the latest state-of-the-art development at Adept Technology Inc. The discussion focusses on implementation of the real-time robot/motion controller on a distributed network environment via IEEE-1394 serial bus. This presentation briefly examines the IEEE-1394 techonology, its role in the real-time motion control industry, and how this techonology fits into Adept's next generation product lines. The IEEE-1394 serial bus, first invented by the Apple Computer, was intended for use by the commercial electronics products, such as a camcorder. The main requirement for this protocol is to be able to transfer massive amount of data both serially and periodically, at a high rate. E.g., transfer of both audio and video data of a camcorder. Due to some of the key features provided by this protocol, e.g., 100/200/400 MBits/sec transfer rate, the isochronous transfer for time-critical data, and etc., it had triggered Adept to investigate this technology in early 1998, and subsequently, invested heavy amount of engineering efforts into adopting and adapting this technology to the robotics/motion control field. It now serves as the backbone of Adept's new distributed motion/vision network system.

bio: Chi Sha received the B.S. degree in control engineering from the National Chiao-Tung University, Hsinchu, Taiwan, and the M.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the Northwestern University in 1982, and 1986, respectively. He has been working in the robotics industry ever since. The companies he had worked for include: Unimation Westinghouse Corp., Staubli Corp., and currently he is the Director of Control Systems for Adept Technology Inc. Chi is basically a roboticist-at-large. He worked on various aspects of different industrial robot systems, such as the calibration method for the PUMA robots, designed control schemes for the PUMA robots based on the 1st generation TI DSP, brought up the 1st Staubli RX family robot, worked on adaptive control for the Adept Direct-Drive robots, co-designed the Adept Cobra robot line. And the most recent work: SmartAmp system for the linear modules family via IEEE-1394 serial bus, and the follow on amplifier-in-base robot products.

February 21, 2002: "Design Considerations for Distributed Embedded Control Systems" by Dr. Jeff Kerr, J.R. Kerr Automation Engineering

Abstract: Many embedded control applications are for stand-alone devices (toasters, digital cameras, etc.), but more and more, embedded controllers are showing up in distributed networks of devices. In some devices (like printers) the embedded control functions are mostly independent of the networking element. In other types of systems (automobiles, factories), however, real-time coordination of many different activities takes place over a distributed network. The attributes of these types of real-time systems will be discussed along with some of the considerations that go into the design of the embedded controllers. In particular, discussion will focus on when and where to put an embedded controller, communications protocols, and assign different functions to different parts of the control system. These topics will be illustrated with examples from the speaker's experience with different motion control systems, good and bad. Lastly, a prototype motion control system under development as a concrete example of these issues will be presented. There will be adequate time for questions in the end.

bio: Jeffrey Kerr has worked for a number of years in the fields of robotics and automation as a consultant, an entrepreneur (Zebra Robotics), and also as an employee of a variety of companies (General Motors, Adept Technology). He is currently running J.R. Kerr Automation Engineering, a company which manufactures of low-cost motion control systems for servo and stepper motors. He received a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering in 1985 from Stanford University, as well as an MS in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from UC Berkeley.