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Chapter 22 — Modular Robots

I-Ming Chen and Mark Yim

This chapter presents a discussion of modular robots from both an industrial and a research point of view. The chapter is divided into four sections, one focusing on existing reconfigurable modular manipulators typically in an industry setting (Sect. 22.2) and another focusing on self-reconfigurable modular robots typically in a research setting (Sect. 22.4). Both sections are sandwiched between the introduction and conclusion sections.

This chapter is focused on design issues. Rather than a survey of existing systems, it presents some of the existing systems in the context of a discussion of the issues and elements in industrial modular robotics and modular robotics research. The reader is encouraged to look at the references for further discussion on any of the presented topics.

4x4ht4a

Author  Hod Lipson

Video ID : 2

Self-reconfiguring cubes that reproduce a chain of cubes. Reference: V. Zykov, E. Mytilinaios, B. Adams, H. LipsonRobotics: Self-reproducing machines, Nature 435, 163-164 (2005); doi:10.1038/435163a

Chapter 30 — Sonar Sensing

Lindsay Kleeman and Roman Kuc

Sonar or ultrasonic sensing uses the propagation of acoustic energy at higher frequencies than normal hearing to extract information from the environment. This chapter presents the fundamentals and physics of sonar sensing for object localization, landmark measurement and classification in robotics applications. The source of sonar artifacts is explained and how they can be dealt with. Different ultrasonic transducer technologies are outlined with their main characteristics highlighted.

Sonar systems are described that range in sophistication from low-cost threshold-based ranging modules to multitransducer multipulse configurations with associated signal processing requirements capable of accurate range and bearing measurement, interference rejection, motion compensation, and target classification. Continuous-transmission frequency-modulated (CTFM) systems are introduced and their ability to improve target sensitivity in the presence of noise is discussed. Various sonar ring designs that provide rapid surrounding environmental coverage are described in conjunction with mapping results. Finally the chapter ends with a discussion of biomimetic sonar, which draws inspiration from animals such as bats and dolphins.

Side-looking multipulse sonar moving down cinder-block hallway

Author  Roman Kuc

Video ID : 303

Rather than producing a single TOF reading per emission, the multipulse sonar produces multiple spikes by quickly resetting the sonar-detector integrator, thereby producing a spike density related to the echo amplitude. A side-looking sonar scans a cinder-block wall containing a door and window jambs. The resulting spikes have been processed to differentiate the first cinder-block wall, the cider-block surface and localize the window and door jambs. The red circles indicate the initial TOF values and illustrate the additional echo waveform data produced by the multipulse sonar. Reference: R. Kuc: Recognizing retro-reflectors with an obliquely-oriented multi-point sonar and acoustic flow, Int. J. Robot. Res. 22(2), 129-145, (2003); doi:10.1177/0278364903022002004.

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.

IREP tagging spikes

Author  Nabil Simaan

Video ID : 246

This video shows telemanipulation of the IREP (insertible robotic effectors platform). The IREP is a system having 21 controllable axes including two 7-DOF dexterous arms, 3-DOF camera head, an insertion stage, and two grippers [1]. Reference: [1] A. Bajo, R. E. Goldman, L. Wang, D. Fowler, N. Simaan: Integration and preliminary evaluation of an insertable robotic effectors platform for single port access surgery, Proc. 2012 IEEE Int. Conf. Robot. Autom. (ICRA), St. Paul (2012), pp. 3381-3387

Chapter 37 — Contact Modeling and Manipulation

Imin Kao, Kevin M. Lynch and Joel W. Burdick

Robotic manipulators use contact forces to grasp and manipulate objects in their environments. Fixtures rely on contacts to immobilize workpieces. Mobile robots and humanoids use wheels or feet to generate the contact forces that allow them to locomote. Modeling of the contact interface, therefore, is fundamental to analysis, design, planning, and control of many robotic tasks.

This chapter presents an overview of the modeling of contact interfaces, with a particular focus on their use in manipulation tasks, including graspless or nonprehensile manipulation modes such as pushing. Analysis and design of grasps and fixtures also depends on contact modeling, and these are discussed in more detail in Chap. 38. Sections 37.2–37.5 focus on rigid-body models of contact. Section 37.2 describes the kinematic constraints caused by contact, and Sect. 37.3 describes the contact forces that may arise with Coulomb friction. Section 37.4 provides examples of analysis of multicontact manipulation tasks with rigid bodies and Coulomb friction. Section 37.5 extends the analysis to manipulation by pushing. Section 37.6 introduces modeling of contact interfaces, kinematic duality, and pressure distribution and soft contact interface. Section 37.7 describes the concept of the friction limit surface and illustrates it with an example demonstrating the construction of a limit surface for a soft contact. Finally, Sect. 37.8 discusses how these more accurate models can be used in fixture analysis and design.

Horizontal transport by 2-DOF vibration

Author  Kevin M. Lynch, Paul Umbanhowar

Video ID : 803

This video demonstrates the use of vertical and horizontal vibration of a supporting bar to cause the object on top to slide one way or the other. Upward acceleration of the bar increases the normal force, thereby increasing the tangential friction force during sliding. With periodic vibration, the object achieves a limit-cycle motion. By choosing the phasing of the vertical and horizontal vibration, the net motion during a limit cycle can be to the left or right. Video shown at 1/20 actual speed. This video is related to the example shown in Fig. 37.9 in Chap. 37.4.3 of the Springer Handbook of Robotics, 2nd ed (2016).

Chapter 74 — Learning from Humans

Aude G. Billard, Sylvain Calinon and Rüdiger Dillmann

This chapter surveys the main approaches developed to date to endow robots with the ability to learn from human guidance. The field is best known as robot programming by demonstration, robot learning from/by demonstration, apprenticeship learning and imitation learning. We start with a brief historical overview of the field. We then summarize the various approaches taken to solve four main questions: when, what, who and when to imitate. We emphasize the importance of choosing well the interface and the channels used to convey the demonstrations, with an eye on interfaces providing force control and force feedback. We then review algorithmic approaches to model skills individually and as a compound and algorithms that combine learning from human guidance with reinforcement learning. We close with a look on the use of language to guide teaching and a list of open issues.

Learning compliant motion from human demonstration

Author  Aude Billard

Video ID : 478

This video illustrates how one can teach a robot to display the right amount of stiffness to perform a task successfully. Decrease in stiffness is demonstrated by shaking the robot, while increase in stiffness is conveyed by pressing on the robot's arm (pressure being measured through tactile sensors along the robot's arm). Reference: K. Kronander,A. Billard: Learning compliant manipulation through kinesthetic and tactile human-robot interaction, IEEE Trans. Haptics 7(3), 367-380 (2013); doi: 10.1109/TOH.2013.54 .

Chapter 30 — Sonar Sensing

Lindsay Kleeman and Roman Kuc

Sonar or ultrasonic sensing uses the propagation of acoustic energy at higher frequencies than normal hearing to extract information from the environment. This chapter presents the fundamentals and physics of sonar sensing for object localization, landmark measurement and classification in robotics applications. The source of sonar artifacts is explained and how they can be dealt with. Different ultrasonic transducer technologies are outlined with their main characteristics highlighted.

Sonar systems are described that range in sophistication from low-cost threshold-based ranging modules to multitransducer multipulse configurations with associated signal processing requirements capable of accurate range and bearing measurement, interference rejection, motion compensation, and target classification. Continuous-transmission frequency-modulated (CTFM) systems are introduced and their ability to improve target sensitivity in the presence of noise is discussed. Various sonar ring designs that provide rapid surrounding environmental coverage are described in conjunction with mapping results. Finally the chapter ends with a discussion of biomimetic sonar, which draws inspiration from animals such as bats and dolphins.

Vergence sonar

Author  Roman Kuc

Video ID : 301

Two conventional Polaroid sonars are oriented away from the sonar axis by a vergence angle of eight degrees and excited simultaneously every 100 ms. Simple logic determines which sonar detects the echo first - indicated by the red LEDs - and when the echoes arrive within a 3 µs window - indicated by the center yellow LED. The video indicates echoes from the ceiling located at 2 m range. The vergence sonar can determine normal incidence within 0.5 degree over a usable beam width of 46 degrees. Reference: R. Kuc: Binaural sonar electronic travel aid provides vibrotactile cues for landmark, reflector motion and surface texture classification, IEEE Trans. Biomed. Eng. 49(10), 1173-1180 (2002).

Chapter 43 — Telerobotics

Günter Niemeyer, Carsten Preusche, Stefano Stramigioli and Dongjun Lee

In this chapter we present an overview of the field of telerobotics with a focus on control aspects. To acknowledge some of the earliest contributions and motivations the field has provided to robotics in general, we begin with a brief historical perspective and discuss some of the challenging applications. Then, after introducing and classifying the various system architectures and control strategies, we emphasize bilateral control and force feedback. This particular area has seen intense research work in the pursuit of telepresence. We also examine some of the emerging efforts, extending telerobotic concepts to unconventional systems and applications. Finally,we suggest some further reading for a closer engagement with the field.

Semi-autonomous teleoperation of multiple UAVs: Passing a narrow gap

Author  Antonio Franchi, Paolo Robuffo Giordano

Video ID : 71

This video shows the bilateral teleoperation of a group of four quadrotors UAVs navigating in a cluttered environment. The human operator provides velocity-level motion commands and receives force-feedback information on the UAV interaction with the environment (e.g., presence of obstacles and external disturbances).

Chapter 27 — Micro-/Nanorobots

Bradley J. Nelson, Lixin Dong and Fumihito Arai

The field of microrobotics covers the robotic manipulation of objects with dimensions in the millimeter to micron range as well as the design and fabrication of autonomous robotic agents that fall within this size range. Nanorobotics is defined in the same way only for dimensions smaller than a micron. With the ability to position and orient objects with micron- and nanometer-scale dimensions, manipulation at each of these scales is a promising way to enable the assembly of micro- and nanosystems, including micro- and nanorobots.

This chapter overviews the state of the art of both micro- and nanorobotics, outlines scaling effects, actuation, and sensing and fabrication at these scales, and focuses on micro- and nanorobotic manipulation systems and their application in microassembly, biotechnology, and the construction and characterization of micro and nanoelectromechanical systems (MEMS/NEMS). Material science, biotechnology, and micro- and nanoelectronics will also benefit from advances in these areas of robotics.

Attogram mass delivery from a carbon nanotube

Author  Lixin Dong

Video ID : 489

This video shows the mass delivery from a carbon nanotube based on nanorobotic manipulation inside a transmission electron microscope. Copper atoms were driven out from the nanotube due to electromigration. A typical mass flow rate is around 1 atom per microsecond. Applications of this phenomenon in nanorobotic spot welding, bubbling of sphere-on-pillar optical antennas, and direct writing of 3-D metallic nanostructures have been demonstrated.

Chapter 18 — Parallel Mechanisms

Jean-Pierre Merlet, Clément Gosselin and Tian Huang

This chapter presents an introduction to the kinematics and dynamics of parallel mechanisms, also referred to as parallel robots. As opposed to classical serial manipulators, the kinematic architecture of parallel robots includes closed-loop kinematic chains. As a consequence, their analysis differs considerably from that of their serial counterparts. This chapter aims at presenting the fundamental formulations and techniques used in their analysis.

Diamond

Author  Tian Huang

Video ID : 47

This video demonstrates a 2-DOF high-speed parallel robot (Diamond).

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.

Aiko sidewinding

Author  Pål Liljebäck

Video ID : 254

Video of Aiko, a robot developed at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)/SINTEF Advanced Robotics Laboratory. In this video, the robot performs a sidewinding gait.