Masterarbeiten, Bachelerarbeiten, Praktika, Werkstudium

Internship / Werkstudent: Satellite On-Orbit Servicing in Virtual Reality with Haptic Feedback

1. Juni 2013

Space traffic density is becoming bigger and the number of satellites that need to be repaired or maintained increases rapidly. An appealing strategy for tackling this problem is sending robots able to perform maintenance activities on-orbit. These strategies can benefit from virtual reality environments with haptic feedback, since they provide with predictive scenarios useful during delayed telepresence manipulations, and given the fact that safe experiments, trials or training can be performed on earth, simulating physical phenomena that might occur in outer space.

Assembly and manipulation tasks of complex virtual objects are researched at the Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics of the German Aerospace Center (DLR). For that purpose, Light Weight Robots (LBR) are used as haptic devices, and an own version of the Voxmap-Pointshell (VPS) Algorithm [1,2] was implemented to detect collisions and compute forces of interfering virtual objects. This penalty based haptic rendering algorithm uses two types of haptic data structures in order to obtain collision forces with 1Khz update rate: voxmaps and pointshells.

However, haptic rendering algorithms compute barely collision forces, not the dynamical behaviour of the objects. Therefore, physical engines [3] are integrated in order to simulate physical phenomena, such as, gravity or friction.

The objective of this work consists in supporting the research of virtual reality on-orbit servicing scenarios. All the aforementioned topics can appear during the work, such as haptic rendering or physical simulation. Concrete goals will be established according to the student’s profile and needs.


  • Good knowledge of C/C++.
  • Knowledge of physical phenomena between rigid solids.
  • Good English level.
  • Optional: Linux, LaTeX , Matlab / Simulink.

Field of Study

  • Computer Science or similar.


  • [1] McNeely, W. A.; Puterbaugh, K. D.; Troy, J.J.: "Voxel-Based 6-DoF Haptic Rendering Improvements". In: Haptics-e. Vol. 3, No.7, 2006.
  • [2] Sagardia, M.; Hulin, T.; Preusche, C.; Hirzinger, G.: "Improvements of the Voxmap-PointShell Algorithm – Fast Generation of Haptic Data-Structures". In 53rd IWK (Internationales Wissenschaftliches Kolloquium), Ilmenau, 2008.
  • [3] Boeing, A.; Bräunl, T.: "Evaluation of Real-Time Physics Simulation Systems". In Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques (ACM), 2007.

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