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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.

Treebot: Autonomous tree climbing by tactile sensing

Author  Tin Lun Lam, Yangsheng Xu

Video ID : 289

The design of Treebot is unique: It uses a set of flexible linear actuators connecting two gripping claws to enable it to move around like an inchworm. While the back gripper holds on, the front gripper releases and the body extends forward, enabling the robot to literally feel around for a good place to grip.

Chapter 69 — Physical Human-Robot Interaction

Sami Haddadin and Elizabeth Croft

Over the last two decades, the foundations for physical human–robot interaction (pHRI) have evolved from successful developments in mechatronics, control, and planning, leading toward safer lightweight robot designs and interaction control schemes that advance beyond the current capacities of existing high-payload and highprecision position-controlled industrial robots. Based on their ability to sense physical interaction, render compliant behavior along the robot structure, plan motions that respect human preferences, and generate interaction plans for collaboration and coaction with humans, these novel robots have opened up novel and unforeseen application domains, and have advanced the field of human safety in robotics.

This chapter gives an overview on the state of the art in pHRI as of the date of publication. First, the advances in human safety are outlined, addressing topics in human injury analysis in robotics and safety standards for pHRI. Then, the foundations of human-friendly robot design, including the development of lightweight and intrinsically flexible force/torque-controlled machines together with the required perception abilities for interaction are introduced. Subsequently, motionplanning techniques for human environments, including the domains of biomechanically safe, risk-metric-based, human-aware planning are covered. Finally, the rather recent problem of interaction planning is summarized, including the issues of collaborative action planning, the definition of the interaction planning problem, and an introduction to robot reflexes and reactive control architecture for pHRI.

Admittance control of a human-centered 3-DOF robotic arm using dfferential elastic actuators

Author  Marc-Antoine Legault, Marc-Antoine Lavoie, Francois Cabana, Philippe Jacob-Goudreau, Dominic Létourneau, François Michaud

Video ID : 610

This video shows the functionalities of a three-serial-DOF robotic arm where each DOF is actuated with a patent-pending differential elastic actuator (DEA). A DEA uses differential coupling between a high-impedance mechanical speed source and a low-impedance mechanical spring. A passive torsion spring (thus the name elastic), with a known impedance characteristic corresponding to the spring stiffness, is used, with an electrical DC brushless motor. A non-turning sensor connected in series with the spring measures the torque output of the actuator. Reference: M.-A. Legault, M.-A. Lavoie, F. Cabana, P. Jacob-Goudreau, D. Létourneau, F. Michaud: Admittance control of a human centered 3-DOF robotic arm using differential elastic actuators , Proc. IEEE/RSJ Int. Conf. Intel. Robot. Syst. (IROS), Nice (2008), pp. 4143–4144; doi: 10.1109/IROS.2008.4651039.

Chapter 66 — Robotics Competitions and Challenges

Daniele Nardi, Jonathan Roberts, Manuela Veloso and Luke Fletcher

This chapter explores the use of competitions to accelerate robotics research and promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. We argue that the field of robotics is particularly well suited to innovation through competitions. Two broad categories of robot competition are used to frame the discussion: human-inspired competitions and task-based challenges. Human-inspired robot competitions, of which the majority are sports contests, quickly move through platform development to focus on problemsolving and test through game play. Taskbased challenges attempt to attract participants by presenting a high aim for a robotic system. The contest can then be tuned, as required, to maintain motivation and ensure that the progress is made. Three case studies of robot competitions are presented, namely robot soccer, the UAV challenge, and the DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) grand challenges. The case studies serve to explore from the point of view of organizers and participants, the benefits and limitations of competitions, and what makes a good robot competition.

This chapter ends with some concluding remarks on the natural convergence of humaninspired competitions and task-based challenges in the promotion of STEM education, research, and vocations.

Brief history of RoboCup robot soccer

Author  Manuela Veloso

Video ID : 385

In this 5 min video, we explain the history of the multiple RoboCup soccer leagues.

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.

DLR Hand Arm System throwing a ball and Justin catching it

Author  Alin Albu-Schäffer, Thomas Bahls, Berthold Bäuml, Maxime Chalon, Markus Grebenstein, Oliver Eiberger, Werner Friedl, Hannes Höppner, Dominic Lakatos, Nico Mansfeld, Florian Petit, Jens Reinecke, Roman Weitschat, Sebastian Wolf, Tilo Wüsthoff

Video ID : 547

The DLR Hand Arm System throws a ball and Justin catches it. There is no data connection between the two systems. Justin catches the ball by visual observation.

Chapter 52 — Modeling and Control of Aerial Robots

Robert Mahony, Randal W. Beard and Vijay Kumar

Aerial robotic vehicles are becoming a core field in mobile robotics. This chapter considers some of the fundamental modelling and control architectures in the most common aerial robotic platforms; small-scale rotor vehicles such as the quadrotor, hexacopter, or helicopter, and fixed wing vehicles. In order to control such vehicles one must begin with a good but sufficiently simple dynamic model. Based on such models, physically motivated control architectures can be developed. Such algorithms require realisable target trajectories along with real-time estimates of the system state obtained from on-board sensor suite. This chapter provides a first introduction across all these subjects for the quadrotor and fixed wing aerial robotic vehicles.

Dubins airplane

Author  Randy Beard

Video ID : 437

This video shows how paths are planned using software based on the Dubins airplane model.

Chapter 49 — Modeling and Control of Wheeled Mobile Robots

Claude Samson, Pascal Morin and Roland Lenain

This chaptermay be seen as a follow up to Chap. 24, devoted to the classification and modeling of basic wheeled mobile robot (WMR) structures, and a natural complement to Chap. 47, which surveys motion planning methods for WMRs. A typical output of these methods is a feasible (or admissible) reference state trajectory for a given mobile robot, and a question which then arises is how to make the physical mobile robot track this reference trajectory via the control of the actuators with which the vehicle is equipped. The object of the present chapter is to bring elements of the answer to this question based on simple and effective control strategies.

The chapter is organized as follows. Section 49.2 is devoted to the choice of controlmodels and the determination of modeling equations associated with the path-following control problem. In Sect. 49.3, the path following and trajectory stabilization problems are addressed in the simplest case when no requirement is made on the robot orientation (i. e., position control). In Sect. 49.4 the same problems are revisited for the control of both position and orientation. The previously mentionned sections consider an ideal robot satisfying the rolling-without-sliding assumption. In Sect. 49.5, we relax this assumption in order to take into account nonideal wheel-ground contact. This is especially important for field-robotics applications and the proposed results are validated through full scale experiments on natural terrain. Finally, a few complementary issues on the feedback control of mobile robots are briefly discussed in the concluding Sect. 49.6, with a list of commented references for further reading on WMRs motion control.

Tracking of an omnidirectional frame with a unicycle-like robot

Author  Guillaume Artus, Pascal Morin, Claude Samson

Video ID : 243

This video shows an experiment performed in 2005 with a unicyle-like robot. A video camera mounted at the top of a robotic arm enabled estimation of the 2-D pose (position/orientation) of the robot with respect to a visual target consisting of three white bars. These bars materialized an omnidirectional moving frame. The experiment demonstrated the capacity of the nonholonomic robot to track in both position and orientation this ominidirectional frame, based on the transverse function control approach.

Chapter 40 — Mobility and Manipulation

Oliver Brock, Jaeheung Park and Marc Toussaint

Mobile manipulation requires the integration of methodologies from all aspects of robotics. Instead of tackling each aspect in isolation,mobilemanipulation research exploits their interdependence to solve challenging problems. As a result, novel views of long-standing problems emerge. In this chapter, we present these emerging views in the areas of grasping, control, motion generation, learning, and perception. All of these areas must address the shared challenges of high-dimensionality, uncertainty, and task variability. The section on grasping and manipulation describes a trend towards actively leveraging contact and physical and dynamic interactions between hand, object, and environment. Research in control addresses the challenges of appropriately coupling mobility and manipulation. The field of motion generation increasingly blurs the boundaries between control and planning, leading to task-consistent motion in high-dimensional configuration spaces, even in dynamic and partially unknown environments. A key challenge of learning formobilemanipulation consists of identifying the appropriate priors, and we survey recent learning approaches to perception, grasping, motion, and manipulation. Finally, a discussion of promising methods in perception shows how concepts and methods from navigation and active perception are applied.

Yale Aerial Manipulator - Dollar Grasp Lab

Author  Paul E. I. Pounds, Daniel R. Bersak, Aaron M. Dollar

Video ID : 656

Aaron Dollar's Aerial Manipulator integrates a gripper that is able to directly grasp and transport objects.

Chapter 20 — Snake-Like and Continuum Robots

Ian D. Walker, Howie Choset and Gregory S. Chirikjian

This chapter provides an overview of the state of the art of snake-like (backbones comprised of many small links) and continuum (continuous backbone) robots. The history of each of these classes of robot is reviewed, focusing on key hardware developments. A review of the existing theory and algorithms for kinematics for both types of robot is presented, followed by a summary ofmodeling of locomotion for snake-like and continuum mechanisms.

Three-dimensional binary manipulator

Author  Greg Chirikjian

Video ID : 161

Greg Chirikjian's binary manipulator operating in three dimensions.

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.

Evolved walking in octopod

Author  Phil Husbands

Video ID : 372

Evolved-walking behaviors on an octopod robot. Multiple gaits and obstacle avoidance can be observed. The behavior was evolved in a minimal simulation by Nick Jakobi at Sussex University and is successfully transferred to the real world as is evident from the video.

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.

A new form of peristaltic locomotion in a robot

Author  Alexander Boxerbaum

Video ID : 287

This robotic concept uses a braided mesh that can be continuously deformed to create smooth waves of motion. The improvements in kinematics result in a much faster and effective motion.