Degree Name

Master of Engineering (Hons.)


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering


The objective of this thesis was to investigate the dynamics of a novel type of robot manipulator, known here as an array manipulator. These manipulators consist of a planar matrix of simple elements which work in concert to drive a workpiece to target positions on its surface. The outstanding feature of these manipulators is that they can move many objects to individual targets simultaneously and hence gain productivity enhancements through parallel processing. The dynamics of these manipulators have been investigated through the development of two computer models. The first model is generic; it predicts object motion due to the resultant acceleration generated on an object by an array of small force producing elements. The second model considers an object's resultant acceleration when placed on a manipulator that uses a unique drive method that consists of orbiting motion in phase with vertical vibration. The results fi-om the second model were compared to experimental results produced on a 36 (6 by 6) element array. The conclusions developed from the generic model were that resultant accelerations could be produced that would effectively translate and reorient objects placed on such an array. However, for reasonable accuracy the area ratio between object and element needed to be in excess of 9:1. The second model showed that the vibrational technique was capable of both translating and reorienting acceleration vectors; however the latter case is complex. Further, the second model showed that the vibration parameters greatly influenced both the resulting acceleration's magnitude and direction.