Integrating Structure & Control Design: The Tensegrity Paradigm
Speaker: Robert E. Skelton, Ph.D. Daniel L. Alspach Professor of Dynamics Systems & Controls UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering
Abstract: Not much theory is available to design material systems and structures that facilitate and cooperate with the intended control function. Separating design and control tasks leads to wasteful mass of the structure and wasteful control energy to achieve the objectives. We often mount actuators on structures to torture the structure to do something it was not designed to do. A good example is the airplane wing, where the structure has the perfect airfoil shape, until you try to control it. This talk will show why the tensegrity paradigm of structural concepts is the favored approach to integrate structure and control design. I will show that a tensegrity topology is the minimal mass solution for each of the six fundamental boundary conditions in structure design (tension, compression, bending: cantilevered, simply-supported, torsion). I will show that the best (simplest) form of the dynamic equations is a matrix second order differential equation.
Bio: Robert E. Skelton is the Daniel L. Alspach Professor of Dynamics Systems and Controls at the UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering. He joined UC San Diego in 1996, after serving as a professor of aeronautics and astronautics at Purdue University from 1975-1996. Skelton began his career at the Marshall Space Flight Center, working first with Lockheed Missiles and Space Company and then Sperry Rand for 12 years. He has been involved with spacecraft control (SKLAB and Hubble Space Telescope) for many years and has served on the National Research Council's Aeronautics and Engineering Board. Skelton is a Fellow of AIAA and IEEE, and has published three books and more than 100 journal papers. He has been inducted in the National Academy of Engineering in 2013.