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Active Virtual Impedance Control for Sound-Following Robots to Avoid Obstacles

EV Components & Materials R&D Group, Korea Institute of Industrial Technology, Gwangju 61012, Korea
Department of Electrical Engineering, Chonnam National University, 77 Youngbong-ro, Buk-gu, Gwangju 61186, Korea
Industrial Technology (Robotics), Korea University of Science and Technology, 217 Gajeong-ro, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon 34113, Korea
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Electronics 2019, 8(5), 522;
Received: 7 April 2019 / Revised: 6 May 2019 / Accepted: 7 May 2019 / Published: 10 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Systems & Control Engineering)
PDF [4798 KB, uploaded 10 May 2019]


A novel active virtual impedance algorithm is here proposed to help sound-following robots avoid obstacles while tracking a sound source. The tracking velocity of a mobile robot to a sound source is determined by virtual repulsive and attraction forces to avoid obstacles and to follow the sound source, respectively. Active virtual impedance is defined as a function of distances and relative velocities to the sound source and obstacles from the mobile robot, which is used to generate the tracking velocity of the mobile robot. Conventional virtual impedance methods have fixed coefficients for relative distances and velocities. However, in this research, the coefficients are dynamically adjusted to extend the obstacle avoidance performance to multiple obstacle environments. The relative distances and velocities are obtained using a microphone array consisting of three microphones in a row. The geometrical relationships of the microphones are utilized to estimate the relative position and orientation of the sound source with respect to the mobile robot, which carries the microphone array. The effectiveness of the proposed algorithm is demonstrated by experiments. View Full-Text
Keywords: microphone array; active virtual impedance; obstacle avoidance; TDOA; sound source microphone array; active virtual impedance; obstacle avoidance; TDOA; sound source

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Han, J.-H.; Kim, D.-H.; Hwang, M.-H.; Lee, G.-S.; Cha, H.-R. Active Virtual Impedance Control for Sound-Following Robots to Avoid Obstacles. Electronics 2019, 8, 522.

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