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Chapter 79 — Robotics for Education

David P. Miller and Illah Nourbakhsh

Educational robotics programs have become popular in most developed countries and are becoming more and more prevalent in the developing world as well. Robotics is used to teach problem solving, programming, design, physics, math and even music and art to students at all levels of their education. This chapter provides an overview of some of the major robotics programs along with the robot platforms and the programming environments commonly used. Like robot systems used in research, there is a constant development and upgrade of hardware and software – so this chapter provides a snapshot of the technologies being used at this time. The chapter concludes with a review of the assessment strategies that can be used to determine if a particular robotics program is benefitting students in the intended ways.

SeaPerch Challenge 2014 'The Heist'

Author  Chris Hansen

Video ID : 634

This video shows one of the first runs of the 2014 SeaPerch Challenge, in which underwater, remotely-operated robots have to maneuver between obstacles while collecting objects from the floor of the pool.

Chapter 76 — Evolutionary Robotics

Stefano Nolfi, Josh Bongard, Phil Husbands and Dario Floreano

Evolutionary Robotics is a method for automatically generating artificial brains and morphologies of autonomous robots. This approach is useful both for investigating the design space of robotic applications and for testing scientific hypotheses of biological mechanisms and processes. In this chapter we provide an overview of methods and results of Evolutionary Robotics with robots of different shapes, dimensions, and operation features. We consider both simulated and physical robots with special consideration to the transfer between the two worlds.

Evolution of visually-guided behaviour on Sussex gantry robot

Author  Phil Husbands

Video ID : 371

Behaviour evolved in the real world on the Sussex gantry robot in 1994. Controllers (evolved neural networks plus visual sampling morphology) are automatically evaluated on the actual robot. The required behaviour is a shape discrimination task: to move to the triangle, while ignoring the rectangle, under very noisy lighting conditions.

Chapter 56 — Robotics in Agriculture and Forestry

Marcel Bergerman, John Billingsley, John Reid and Eldert van Henten

Robotics for agriculture and forestry (A&F) represents the ultimate application of one of our society’s latest and most advanced innovations to its most ancient and important industries. Over the course of history, mechanization and automation increased crop output several orders of magnitude, enabling a geometric growth in population and an increase in quality of life across the globe. Rapid population growth and rising incomes in developing countries, however, require ever larger amounts of A&F output. This chapter addresses robotics for A&F in the form of case studies where robotics is being successfully applied to solve well-identified problems. With respect to plant crops, the focus is on the in-field or in-farm tasks necessary to guarantee a quality crop and, generally speaking, end at harvest time. In the livestock domain, the focus is on breeding and nurturing, exploiting, harvesting, and slaughtering and processing. The chapter is organized in four main sections. The first one explains the scope, in particular, what aspects of robotics for A&F are dealt with in the chapter. The second one discusses the challenges and opportunities associated with the application of robotics to A&F. The third section is the core of the chapter, presenting twenty case studies that showcase (mostly) mature applications of robotics in various agricultural and forestry domains. The case studies are not meant to be comprehensive but instead to give the reader a general overview of how robotics has been applied to A&F in the last 10 years. The fourth section concludes the chapter with a discussion on specific improvements to current technology and paths to commercialization.

Ladybird: An intelligent farm robot for the vegetable industry

Author  James Underwood, Calvin Hung, Suchet Bargoti, Mark Calleija, Robert Fitch, Juan Nieto, Salah Sukkarieh

Video ID : 305

This video showcases the Ladybird, an intelligent robot for the vegetable industry. Ladybird provides a flexible platform for sensing and automating commercial vegetable farms. The solar-electric powered vehicle has a flexible drive system that allows precise motion in potentially tight environments, and the platform geometry can be configured to suit different crop configurations. The vehicle autonomously traverses the farm, gathering data from a variety of sensors, including stereo vision, hyperspectral, thermal, and LIDAR. The data is processed to provide useful information for the management and optimization of the crop, including yield mapping, phenotyping, and disease and stress detection. Ladybird is equipped with a manipulator arm for a variety of mechanical tasks, including thinning, weeding (especially of herbicide-resistant weeds), spot spraying, foreign body removal and to support research towards automated harvesting.

Chapter 59 — Robotics in Mining

Joshua A. Marshall, Adrian Bonchis, Eduardo Nebot and Steven Scheding

This chapter presents an overview of the state of the art in mining robotics, from surface to underground applications, and beyond. Mining is the practice of extracting resources for utilitarian purposes. Today, the international business of mining is a heavily mechanized industry that exploits the use of large diesel and electric equipment. These machines must operate in harsh, dynamic, and uncertain environments such as, for example, in the high arctic, in extreme desert climates, and in deep underground tunnel networks where it can be very hot and humid. Applications of robotics in mining are broad and include robotic dozing, excavation, and haulage, robotic mapping and surveying, as well as robotic drilling and explosives handling. This chapter describes how many of these applications involve unique technical challenges for field roboticists. However, there are compelling reasons to advance the discipline of mining robotics, which include not only a desire on the part of miners to improve productivity, safety, and lower costs, but also out of a need to meet product demands by accessing orebodies situated in increasingly challenging conditions.

Autonomous tramming

Author  Oscar Lundhede

Video ID : 142

This video shows one example of the current state of the art in LHD automation for underground mining operations. The Atlas Copco Scooptram Automation system depicted in this video automatically hauls and dumps material from underground draw points.

Chapter 23 — Biomimetic Robots

Kyu-Jin Cho and Robert Wood

Biomimetic robot designs attempt to translate biological principles into engineered systems, replacing more classical engineering solutions in order to achieve a function observed in the natural system. This chapter will focus on mechanism design for bio-inspired robots that replicate key principles from nature with novel engineering solutions. The challenges of biomimetic design include developing a deep understanding of the relevant natural system and translating this understanding into engineering design rules. This often entails the development of novel fabrication and actuation to realize the biomimetic design.

This chapter consists of four sections. In Sect. 23.1, we will define what biomimetic design entails, and contrast biomimetic robots with bio-inspired robots. In Sect. 23.2, we will discuss the fundamental components for developing a biomimetic robot. In Sect. 23.3, we will review detailed biomimetic designs that have been developed for canonical robot locomotion behaviors including flapping-wing flight, jumping, crawling, wall climbing, and swimming. In Sect. 23.4, we will discuss the enabling technologies for these biomimetic designs including material and fabrication.

Omegabot : Inchworm-inspired robot climbing

Author  Je-Sung Koh, Kyu-Jin Cho

Video ID : 290

This robot is an inchworm-inspired robot using a composite structure and a SMA spring actuator. It has gripper and steering joints so that it can climb on rough surfaces and steer as well.

Chapter 21 — Actuators for Soft Robotics

Alin Albu-Schäffer and Antonio Bicchi

Although we do not know as yet how robots of the future will look like exactly, most of us are sure that they will not resemble the heavy, bulky, rigid machines dangerously moving around in old fashioned industrial automation. There is a growing consensus, in the research community as well as in expectations from the public, that robots of the next generation will be physically compliant and adaptable machines, closely interacting with humans and moving safely, smoothly and efficiently - in other terms, robots will be soft.

This chapter discusses the design, modeling and control of actuators for the new generation of soft robots, which can replace conventional actuators in applications where rigidity is not the first and foremost concern in performance. The chapter focuses on the technology, modeling, and control of lumped parameters of soft robotics, that is, systems of discrete, interconnected, and compliant elements. Distributed parameters, snakelike and continuum soft robotics, are presented in Chap. 20, while Chap. 23 discusses in detail the biomimetic motivations that are often behind soft robotics.

Variable impedance actuators: Moving the robots of tomorrow

Author  B. Vanderborght, A. Albu-Schäffer, A. Bicchi, E. Burdet, D. Caldwell, R. Carloni, M. Catalano, Ganesh, Garabini, Grebenstein, Grioli, Haddadin, Jafari, Laffranchi, Lefeber, Petit, Stramigioli, Tsagarakis, Van Damme, Van Ham, Visser, Wolf

Video ID : 456

Most of today's robots have rigid structures and actuators requiring complex software control algorithms and sophisticated sensor systems in order to behave in a compliant and safe way adapted to contact with unknown environments and humans. By studying and constructing variable impedance actuators and their control, we contribute to the development of actuation units that can match the intrinsic safety, motion performance and energy efficiency of biological systems and, in particular, of the humans. As such, this may lead to a new generation of robots that can co-exist and co-operate with people and get closer to the human manipulation and locomotion performance than is possible with current robots.

Chapter 34 — Visual Servoing

François Chaumette, Seth Hutchinson and Peter Corke

This chapter introduces visual servo control, using computer vision data in the servo loop to control the motion of a robot. We first describe the basic techniques that are by now well established in the field. We give a general overview of the formulation of the visual servo control problem, and describe the two archetypal visual servo control schemes: image-based and pose-based visual servo control. We then discuss performance and stability issues that pertain to these two schemes, motivating advanced techniques. Of the many advanced techniques that have been developed, we discuss 2.5-D, hybrid, partitioned, and switched approaches. Having covered a variety of control schemes, we deal with target tracking and controlling motion directly in the joint space and extensions to under-actuated ground and aerial robots. We conclude by describing applications of visual servoing in robotics.

2.5-D VS on a 6-DOF robot arm (1)

Author  Francois Chaumette, Seth Hutchinson, Peter Corke

Video ID : 64

This video shows a 2.5-D VS on a 6-DOF robot arm with (x_g, log(Z_g), theta u) as visual features. It corresponds to the results depicted in Figure 34.12.

Chapter 36 — Motion for Manipulation Tasks

James Kuffner and Jing Xiao

This chapter serves as an introduction to Part D by giving an overview of motion generation and control strategies in the context of robotic manipulation tasks. Automatic control ranging from the abstract, high-level task specification down to fine-grained feedback at the task interface are considered. Some of the important issues include modeling of the interfaces between the robot and the environment at the different time scales of motion and incorporating sensing and feedback. Manipulation planning is introduced as an extension to the basic motion planning problem, which can be modeled as a hybrid system of continuous configuration spaces arising from the act of grasping and moving parts in the environment. The important example of assembly motion is discussed through the analysis of contact states and compliant motion control. Finally, methods aimed at integrating global planning with state feedback control are summarized.

Demonstration of multisensor integration in industrial manipulation

Author  Torsten Kröger et al.

Video ID : 361

This video demonstrates the potential of multisensor integration in industrial manipulation. A robot is programmed to play the Jenga game. Two cameras are mounted on the manipulator to calculate the positions of all cuboids online. A 6-DOF force/torque sensor and a 6-DOF acceleration sensor are mounted between a hand and gripper to give force/tactile feedback. The manipulator randomly chooses one block and tries to push it out and then put it on the top of the tower. In this video, a record of putting 29 blocks onto the top of the tower is achieved.

Chapter 4 — Mechanism and Actuation

Victor Scheinman, J. Michael McCarthy and Jae-Bok Song

This chapter focuses on the principles that guide the design and construction of robotic systems. The kinematics equations and Jacobian of the robot characterize its range of motion and mechanical advantage, and guide the selection of its size and joint arrangement. The tasks a robot is to perform and the associated precision of its movement determine detailed features such as mechanical structure, transmission, and actuator selection. Here we discuss in detail both the mathematical tools and practical considerations that guide the design of mechanisms and actuation for a robot system.

The following sections (Sect. 4.1) discuss characteristics of the mechanisms and actuation that affect the performance of a robot. Sections 4.2–4.6 discuss the basic features of a robot manipulator and their relationship to the mathematical model that is used to characterize its performance. Sections 4.7 and 4.8 focus on the details of the structure and actuation of the robot and how they combine to yield various types of robots. The final Sect. 4.9 relates these design features to various performance metrics.

Shadow Robot Company arm with Hand C5

Author  Shadow Robot Company

Video ID : 647

Fig. 4.23a Applications of pneumatic actuator: robot hand and arm with artificial muscle (Shadow Robot Company).

Chapter 7 — Motion Planning

Lydia E. Kavraki and Steven M. LaValle

This chapter first provides a formulation of the geometric path planning problem in Sect. 7.2 and then introduces sampling-based planning in Sect. 7.3. Sampling-based planners are general techniques applicable to a wide set of problems and have been successful in dealing with hard planning instances. For specific, often simpler, planning instances, alternative approaches exist and are presented in Sect. 7.4. These approaches provide theoretical guarantees and for simple planning instances they outperform samplingbased planners. Section 7.5 considers problems that involve differential constraints, while Sect. 7.6 overviews several other extensions of the basic problem formulation and proposed solutions. Finally, Sect. 7.8 addresses some important andmore advanced topics related to motion planning.

Alpha puzzle

Author  Mark Moll

Video ID : 23

The alpha puzzle problem is a common benchmark scenario for motion planning. The puzzle consists of two intertwined twisted tubes. The objective is to separate the tubes, where one tube is considered a stationary obstacle and the other tube is the moving object (robot). Solving the problem is challenging because it contains a narrow passage in the configuration space. This plan was generated by a sampling-based motion planner implemented in the Open Motion Planning Library (OMPL).