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Software and control architecture

Software and control architecture
The software and control architecture of the humanoid robot ARMAR-III consists of three layers (see figure). On the lowest level, DSP perform low-level sensorimotor control realized as cascaded velocity-position control loops. On the same level, hardware such as microphones, loudspeakers, and cameras are available. All these elements are connected to the PCs in the mid-level, either directly or via CAN bus. The software in the mid-level is realized using the Modular Controller Architecture (MCA2). The PCs in the mid-level are responsible for higher-level control (forward and inverse kinematics), the holonomic platform, and speech processing.

The first two levels can be regarded as stable i.e. the implemented modules remain unchanged. The programming of the robot takes place on the highest level only. Here, the so-called robot interface allows for convenient access to the robot's sensors and actuators via C++ variables and method calls.

To allow for effective and efficient programming of the robot, in addition to direct access to the robot's sensors and actors, two abstraction levels are defined: tasks and skills. Skills implement atomic capabilities such as platform navigation, visual object search, grasping objects, placing objects, handing over objects, opening doors, closing doors, etc. Tasks are operate on a higher level and are composed of several skills, e.g. bringing juice from the fridge. 

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