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The problem of controlling a rigid bilateral teleoperator with time-delays has been effectively addressed since the late 80's. However, the control of flexible joint manipulators in a bilateral teleoperation scenario is still an open problem. In the present paper we report two versions of a proportional plus damping injection controller that are capable of globally stabilizing a nonlinear bilateral teleoperator with joint flexibility and variable time-delays. The first version controls a teleoperator composed by a rigid local manipulator and a flexible joint remote manipulator and the second version deals with local and remote manipulators with joint flexibility. For both schemes, it is proved that the joint and motor velocities and the local and remote position error are bounded. Moreover, if the human operator and remote environment forces are zero then velocities asymptotically converge to zero and position tracking is established. Simulations are presented to show the performance of the proposed controllers.
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