I am currently researching methods for effectively controlling compliant robots. Most industrial robots are extremely dangerous for humans to be around during normal operation. They are often caged off and have safety measures in place that will shut them down when a person comes within their operating space. To create safer robots that can work around humans and unknown environments many robot developers are creating compliant robots and even lighter robot. This compliance comes from either active compliance, i.e. from a controller, or passive compliance which is inherent in the joints or links, e.g. series elastic actuators (SEAs) or in non rigid links. An example of compliance using non rigid links is Otherlab/Pnuebotics' inflatable robots. Lighter robots will be inherently safer due to the fact that they don't have the same momentum when moving at high speeds as a traditional robot or even a Baxter.
I am currently working with Pneubotics and NASA Ames to develop an inflatable pneumatically actuated arm that will capable of working on the rover K-REX. I am developing the controls that will allow the arm to achieve and maintain joint angles instead of just doing pressure control. As publications are released and become part of the public domain I will update this section. It is highly related to the work done with King Louie described below.
With the research team at the BYU RaD Lab I developed dynamic models of antagonistic pneumatically actuated robots that were designed and built by Otherlab/Pnuebotics. We were able to use these dynamics and Model Predictive controller to control King Louie (shown right) to perform tasks like picking up a ball and placing it in a bucket 10/11 times. It should be noted that not only is King Louie pneumatically actuated all his structure is supported by air, he is in fact an inflatable robot. This makes him extremely light when compared to traditional robots and makes him a much safer robot. See here for the article published in the IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine