A method for inverse robot calibration

J. S. Shamma, D. E. Whitney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


A method is described for the inverse calibration of a manipulator or robot. Inverse calibration is defined to be finding the joint angles necessary to drive a robot to a desired endpoint location. The jointangles recommended by the robot controller’s internal model will not, in general, drive the robot to the desired location because of inaccuracies in this model. Inverse calibration seeks to reduce the error. Unlike previous work in calibration, the method reported here does not require modeling any specific phenomena that may cause the error; hence itis not limited in accuracy by inability to identify all the error sources. The method consists of finding approximation functions by which corrections are made to the encoder readings recommended by the robot’s internal model. These functions are found by measuring the error at discrete locations throughout a region of the robot’s workspace andthen least-squares fitting third order trivariate polynomials to the error samples. A forward calibration (one which reports actual tool location fromgiven encoder readings) based on the above method is also described. Theinverse calibration is tested on a six DOF PUMA simulation. Results showthat the endpoint location error can be reduced from an average ofabout1.2 mm down to an average of about 0.12 mm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-43
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Dynamic Systems, Measurement and Control, Transactions of the ASME
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Information Systems
  • Instrumentation
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications


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