This paper deals with the design and implementation of a visual kinematic control scheme for a redundant manipulator. The inverse kinematic map for a redundant manipulator is a one-to-many relation problem; i.e. for each Cartesian position, multiple joint angle vectors are associated. When this inverse kinematic relation is learnt using existing learning schemes, a single inverse kinematic solution is achieved, although the manipulator is redundant. Thus a new redundancy preserving network based on the self-organizing map (SOM) has been proposed to learn the one-to-many relation using sub-clustering in joint angle space. The SOM network resolves redundancy using three criteria, namely lazy arm movement, minimum angle norm and minimum condition number of image Jacobian matrix. The proposed scheme is able to guide the manipulator end-effector towards the desired target within 1-mm positioning accuracy without exceeding physical joint angle limits. A new concept of neighbourhood has been introduced to enable the manipulator to follow any continuous trajectory. The proposed scheme has been implemented on a seven-degree-of-freedom (7DOF) PowerCube robot manipulator successfully with visual position feedback only. The positioning accuracy of the redundant manipulator using the proposed scheme outperforms existing SOM-based algorithms.
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