A Human-Machine Interface for Reconfigurable Sensor-Based Control Systems
The development of software for dynamically reconfigurable sensor-based control systems is a complicated and tedious process, requiring specialization in real-time systems programming and an amount of time which may not be available, for instance, in a space laboratory. The total development time can be reduced by automatically integrating reusable software modules to create applications. The integration of these modules can be further simplified by the use of a high-level programming interface which can integrate modules developed at different sites. We have developed Onika, an iconically programmed human-machine interface, to interact with a reconfigurable software framework to create reusable code. Onika presents appropriate work environments for both application engineers and end-users. For engineers, icons representing real-time software modules can be combined to form real-time jobs. For the end-user, icons representing these jobs are assembled by the user into applications. Onika verifies that all jobs and applications are syntactically correct, non-ambiguous, and complete. They can then be executed from within Onika, or can be saved as a stand-alone program which can be executed independently on the underlying real-time operating system. Onika can retrieve and use software modules created at other sites with modules created locally. While Onika has been fully integrated with the Chimera real-time operating system in order to control several different robotic systems in the Advanced Manipulators Laboratory at Carnegie Mellon University, it can also function independently of Chimera. Onika will be used in connection with NASA Langley Research Center’s Intravehicular Autonomous Robot (IVAR) space manipulator laboratory.