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Chapter 28 — Force and Tactile Sensing

Mark R. Cutkosky and William Provancher

This chapter provides an overview of force and tactile sensing, with the primary emphasis placed on tactile sensing. We begin by presenting some basic considerations in choosing a tactile sensor and then review a wide variety of sensor types, including proximity, kinematic, force, dynamic, contact, skin deflection, thermal, and pressure sensors. We also review various transduction methods, appropriate for each general sensor type. We consider the information that these various types of sensors provide in terms of whether they are most useful for manipulation, surface exploration or being responsive to contacts from external agents.

Concerning the interpretation of tactile information, we describe the general problems and present two short illustrative examples. The first involves intrinsic tactile sensing, i. e., estimating contact locations and forces from force sensors. The second involves contact pressure sensing, i. e., estimating surface normal and shear stress distributions from an array of sensors in an elastic skin. We conclude with a brief discussion of the challenges that remain to be solved in packaging and manufacturing damage-tolerant tactile sensors.

Capacitive tactile sensing

Author  Mark Cutkosky

Video ID : 14

Video demonstrating the capacitive tactile sensing suite on the SRI-Meka-Stanford four-fingered hand built for the DARPA ARM-H Mobile Manipulation program.

Chapter 54 — Industrial Robotics

Martin Hägele, Klas Nilsson, J. Norberto Pires and Rainer Bischoff

Much of the technology that makes robots reliable, human friendly, and adaptable for numerous applications has emerged from manufacturers of industrial robots. With an estimated installation base in 2014 of about 1:5million units, some 171 000 new installations in that year and an annual turnover of the robotics industry estimated to be US$ 32 billion, industrial robots are by far the largest commercial application of robotics technology today.

The foundations for robot motion planning and control were initially developed with industrial applications in mind. These applications deserve special attention in order to understand the origin of robotics science and to appreciate the many unsolved problems that still prevent the wider use of robots in today’s agile manufacturing environments. In this chapter, we present a brief history and descriptions of typical industrial robotics applications and at the same time we address current critical state-of-the-art technological developments. We show how robots with differentmechanisms fit different applications and how applications are further enabled by latest technologies, often adopted from technological fields outside manufacturing automation.

We will first present a brief historical introduction to industrial robotics with a selection of contemporary application examples which at the same time refer to a critical key technology. Then, the basic principles that are used in industrial robotics and a review of programming methods will be presented. We will also introduce the topic of system integration particularly from a data integration point of view. The chapter will be closed with an outlook based on a presentation of some unsolved problems that currently inhibit wider use of industrial robots.

SMErobotics Demonstrator D2 Human-Robot cooperation in wooden house production

Author  Martin Haegele, Thilo Zimmermann, Björn Kahl

Video ID : 381

SMErobotics: Europe's leading robot manufacturers and research institutes have teamed up with the European Robotics Initiative for Strengthening the Competitiveness of SMEs in Manufacturing - to make the vision of cognitive robotics a reality in a key segment of EU manufacturing. Funded by the European Union 7th Framework Programme under GA number 287787. Project runtime: 01.01.2012 - 30.06.2016 For a general introduction, please also watch the general SMErobotics project video (ID 260). About this video: Chapter 1: Introduction (0:00); Chapter 2: Use of CAD data (00:32); Chapter 3: Object recognition and human interaction (00:47); Chapter 4: Program planning (01:15); Chapter 5: Program execution (01:53); Chapter 6: Automatic Tool Change (02:44); Chapter 7: Error handling (03:13); Chapter 8: Statement (03:58) Chapter 9: Outro (04:18); Chapter 10: The Consortium (04:56). For details, please visit:

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.

Throwing a ball with the DLR VS-Joint

Author  Sebastian Wolf, Gerd Hirzinger

Video ID : 549

The video shows the difference between a stiff and a flexible actuator in a 1-DOF throwing demonstration. The variable stiffness actuator (VS-joint) can store potential energy in a strike out movement and release it by accelerating the lever and ball. Additional energy is transferred to the lever by stiffening up during the forward motion.

Chapter 65 — Domestic Robotics

Erwin Prassler, Mario E. Munich, Paolo Pirjanian and Kazuhiro Kosuge

When the first edition of this book was published domestic robots were spoken of as a dream that was slowly becoming reality. At that time, in 2008, we looked back on more than twenty years of research and development in domestic robotics, especially in cleaning robotics. Although everybody expected cleaning to be the killer app for domestic robotics in the first half of these twenty years nothing big really happened. About ten years before the first edition of this book appeared, all of a sudden things started moving. Several small, but also some larger enterprises announced that they would soon launch domestic cleaning robots. The robotics community was anxiously awaiting these first cleaning robots and so were consumers. The big burst, however, was yet to come. The price tag of those cleaning robots was far beyond what people were willing to pay for a vacuum cleaner. It took another four years until, in 2002, a small and inexpensive device, which was not even called a cleaning robot, brought the first breakthrough: Roomba. Sales of the Roomba quickly passed the first million robots and increased rapidly. While for the first years after Roomba’s release, the big players remained on the sidelines, possibly to revise their own designs and, in particular their business models and price tags, some other small players followed quickly and came out with their own products. We reported about theses devices and their creators in the first edition. Since then the momentum in the field of domestics robotics has steadily increased. Nowadays most big appliance manufacturers have domestic cleaning robots in their portfolio. We are not only seeing more and more domestic cleaning robots and lawn mowers on the market, but we are also seeing new types of domestic robots, window cleaners, plant watering robots, tele-presence robots, domestic surveillance robots, and robotic sports devices. Some of these new types of domestic robots are still prototypes or concept studies. Others have already crossed the threshold to becoming commercial products.

For the second edition of this chapter, we have decided to not only enumerate the devices that have emerged and survived in the past five years, but also to take a look back at how it all began, contrasting this retrospection with the burst of progress in the past five years in domestic cleaning robotics. We will not describe and discuss in detail every single cleaning robot that has seen the light of the day, but select those that are representative for the evolution of the technology as well as the market. We will also reserve some space for new types of mobile domestic robots, which will be the success stories or failures for the next edition of this chapter. Further we will look into nonmobile domestic robots, also called smart appliances, and examine their fate. Last but not least, we will look at the recent developments in the area of intelligent homes that surround and, at times, also control the mobile domestic robots and smart appliances described in the preceding sections.

Winbot window-cleaning robot

Author  Erwin Prassler

Video ID : 736

Video features window--cleaning robot Winbot at CES 2015.

Chapter 35 — Multisensor Data Fusion

Hugh Durrant-Whyte and Thomas C. Henderson

Multisensor data fusion is the process of combining observations from a number of different sensors to provide a robust and complete description of an environment or process of interest. Data fusion finds wide application in many areas of robotics such as object recognition, environment mapping, and localization.

This chapter has three parts: methods, architectures, and applications. Most current data fusion methods employ probabilistic descriptions of observations and processes and use Bayes’ rule to combine this information. This chapter surveys the main probabilistic modeling and fusion techniques including grid-based models, Kalman filtering, and sequential Monte Carlo techniques. This chapter also briefly reviews a number of nonprobabilistic data fusion methods. Data fusion systems are often complex combinations of sensor devices, processing, and fusion algorithms. This chapter provides an overview of key principles in data fusion architectures from both a hardware and algorithmic viewpoint. The applications of data fusion are pervasive in robotics and underly the core problem of sensing, estimation, and perception. We highlight two example applications that bring out these features. The first describes a navigation or self-tracking application for an autonomous vehicle. The second describes an application in mapping and environment modeling.

The essential algorithmic tools of data fusion are reasonably well established. However, the development and use of these tools in realistic robotics applications is still developing.

Multisensor remote surface inspection

Author  S. Hayati, H. Seraji, B. Balaram, R. Volpe, B. Ivlev, G. Tharp, T. Ohm, D. Lim

Video ID : 639

Jet Propulson Lab, Pasadena, applies telerobotic inspection techniques to space platforms.

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.

An octopus-bioinspired solution to movement and manipulation for soft robots

Author  Marcello Calisti, Michelle Giorelli, Guy Levy, Barbara Mazzolai, Binyamin Hochner, Cecilia Laschi, Paolo Dario

Video ID : 411

A totally soft robotic arm freely moving in water was inspired by the form and morphology of the octopus.

Chapter 25 — Underwater Robots

Hyun-Taek Choi and Junku Yuh

Covering about two-thirds of the earth, the ocean is an enormous system that dominates processes on the Earth and has abundant living and nonliving resources, such as fish and subsea gas and oil. Therefore, it has a great effect on our lives on land, and the importance of the ocean for the future existence of all human beings cannot be overemphasized. However, we have not been able to explore the full depths of the ocean and do not fully understand the complex processes of the ocean. Having said that, underwater robots including remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) have received much attention since they can be an effective tool to explore the ocean and efficiently utilize the ocean resources. This chapter focuses on design issues of underwater robots including major subsystems such as mechanical systems, power sources, actuators and sensors, computers and communications, software architecture, and manipulators while Chap. 51 covers modeling and control of underwater robots.

Preliminary results of sonar-based SLAM using landmarks

Author  Hyun-Taek Choi

Video ID : 794

This video records preliminary experimental results of a sonar-based SLAM algorithm developed by KRISO (Korea Research Institute of Ships and Ocean Engineering). A position obtained by the proposed probability-based landmark-recognition method and landmarks especially designed for sonar is used to correct the position estimated by IMU/DVL navigation using EKF (extended Kalman filter).

Chapter 75 — Biologically Inspired Robotics

Fumiya Iida and Auke Jan Ijspeert

Throughout the history of robotics research, nature has been providing numerous ideas and inspirations to robotics engineers. Small insect-like robots, for example, usually make use of reflexive behaviors to avoid obstacles during locomotion, whereas large bipedal robots are designed to control complex human-like leg for climbing up and down stairs. While providing an overview of bio-inspired robotics, this chapter particularly focus on research which aims to employ robotics systems and technologies for our deeper understanding of biological systems. Unlike most of the other robotics research where researchers attempt to develop robotic applications, these types of bio-inspired robots are generally developed to test unsolved hypotheses in biological sciences. Through close collaborations between biologists and roboticists, bio-inspired robotics research contributes not only to elucidating challenging questions in nature but also to developing novel technologies for robotics applications. In this chapter, we first provide a brief historical background of this research area and then an overview of ongoing research methodologies. A few representative case studies will detail the successful instances in which robotics technologies help identifying biological hypotheses. And finally we discuss challenges and perspectives in the field.

Biologically inspired robotics (or bio-inspired robotics in short) is a very broad research area because almost all robotic systems are, in one way or the other, inspired from biological systems. Therefore, there is no clear distinction between bio-inspired robots and the others, and there is no commonly agreed definition [75.1]. For example, legged robots that walk, hop, and run are usually regarded as bio-inspired robots because many biological systems rely on legged locomotion for their survival. On the other hand, many robotics researchers implement biologicalmodels ofmotion control and navigation onto wheeled platforms, which could also be regarded as bio-inspired robots [75.2].

MIT Compass Gait Robot - Locomotion over rough terrain

Author  Fumiya Iida, Auke Ijspeert

Video ID : 111

This video shows an experiment of the MIT Compass Gait Robot for locomotion over rough terrain. This platform takes advantage of point-feet of compass-gait robots which are usually advantageous for locomotion in challenging, rough terrains. The motion controller uses a simple oscillator because of the intrinsic dynamic stability of this robot.

Chapter 11 — Robots with Flexible Elements

Alessandro De Luca and Wayne J. Book

Design issues, dynamic modeling, trajectory planning, and feedback control problems are presented for robot manipulators having components with mechanical flexibility, either concentrated at the joints or distributed along the links. The chapter is divided accordingly into two main parts. Similarities or differences between the two types of flexibility are pointed out wherever appropriate.

For robots with flexible joints, the dynamic model is derived in detail by following a Lagrangian approach and possible simplified versions are discussed. The problem of computing the nominal torques that produce a desired robot motion is then solved. Regulation and trajectory tracking tasks are addressed by means of linear and nonlinear feedback control designs.

For robots with flexible links, relevant factors that lead to the consideration of distributed flexibility are analyzed. Dynamic models are presented, based on the treatment of flexibility through lumped elements, transfer matrices, or assumed modes. Several specific issues are then highlighted, including the selection of sensors, the model order used for control design, and the generation of effective commands that reduce or eliminate residual vibrations in rest-to-rest maneuvers. Feedback control alternatives are finally discussed.

In each of the two parts of this chapter, a section is devoted to the illustration of the original references and to further readings on the subject.

Rest-to-rest motion for a flexible link

Author  Alessandro De Luca

Video ID : 779

This 2003 video shows a planar one-link flexible arm executing a desired rest-to-rest motion in a given finite time (90 deg in 2 s). Link deformations vanish completely at the desired final time. The applied control law is the combination of a model-based feedforward command designed for a smooth trajectory assigned to the flat output of the system and of a stabilizing PID feedback action on the joint angle around its associated trajectory. References: 1. A. De Luca, G. Di Giovanni: Rest-to-rest motion of a one-link flexible arm, Proc. IEEE/ASME Int. Conf. Adv. Intell. Mechatron., Como (2001), pp. 923-928; doi: 10.1109/AIM.2001.936793; 2. A. De Luca, V. Caiano, D. Del Vescovo: Experiments on rest-to-rest motion of a flexible arm, in B. Siciliano, P. Dario (Eds), Experimental Robotics VIII, Springer Tract. Adv. Robot. 5, 338-349 (2003); doi: 10.1007/3-540-36268-1_30

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.