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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.

Discrimination of objects through sensory-motor coordination

Author  Stefano Nolfi

Video ID : 116

A Khepera robot provided with infrared sensors is evolved for the ability to find and remain close to a cylindrical object randomly located in the environment. The discrimination of the two types of objects (walls and cylinders) is realized by exploiting the limit-cycle oscillatory behavio,r which is produced by the robot near the cylinder and which emerges from the robot/environmental interactions (i.e., by the interplay between the way in which the robot react to sensory stimuli and the perceptual consequences of the robot actions).

Chapter 58 — Robotics in Hazardous Applications

James Trevelyan, William R. Hamel and Sung-Chul Kang

Robotics researchers have worked hard to realize a long-awaited vision: machines that can eliminate the need for people to work in hazardous environments. Chapter 60 is framed by the vision of disaster response: search and rescue robots carrying people from burning buildings or tunneling through collapsed rock falls to reach trapped miners. In this chapter we review tangible progress towards robots that perform routine work in places too dangerous for humans. Researchers still have many challenges ahead of them but there has been remarkable progress in some areas. Hazardous environments present special challenges for the accomplishment of desired tasks depending on the nature and magnitude of the hazards. Hazards may be present in the form of radiation, toxic contamination, falling objects or potential explosions. Technology that specialized engineering companies can develop and sell without active help from researchers marks the frontier of commercial feasibility. Just inside this border lie teleoperated robots for explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) and for underwater engineering work. Even with the typical tenfold disadvantage in manipulation performance imposed by the limits of today’s telepresence and teleoperation technology, in terms of human dexterity and speed, robots often can offer a more cost-effective solution. However, most routine applications in hazardous environments still lie far beyond the feasibility frontier. Fire fighting, remediating nuclear contamination, reactor decommissioning, tunneling, underwater engineering, underground mining and clearance of landmines and unexploded ordnance still present many unsolved problems.

NanoMag magnetic crawler for remote inspection

Author  James P. Trevelyan

Video ID : 591

Promotional video for an inspection robot. This robot is clearly limited to working on magnetic surfaces.

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.

Motor-skill learning for robotics

Author  Jan Peters, Jens Kober, Katharina Mülling

Video ID : 667

We propose to divide the generic skill-learning problem into parts that can be well-understood from a robotics point of view. After appropriate learning approaches have been designed for these basic components, they will serve as the ingredients of a general approach to robot-skill learning. This video shows results of our work on learning to control, learning elementary movements, as well as steps towards the learning of complex tasks.

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.

AwAS - II: Actuator with adjustable stiffness

Author  Nikolaos Tsagarakis, Darwin Caldwell et al.

Video ID : 699

Actuator with adjustable stiffness(AwAS-II) - variable stiffness and position behavior.

Chapter 68 — Human Motion Reconstruction

Katsu Yamane and Wataru Takano

This chapter presents a set of techniques for reconstructing and understanding human motions measured using current motion capture technologies. We first review modeling and computation techniques for obtaining motion and force information from human motion data (Sect. 68.2). Here we show that kinematics and dynamics algorithms for articulated rigid bodies can be applied to human motion data processing, with help from models based on knowledge in anatomy and physiology. We then describe methods for analyzing human motions so that robots can segment and categorize different behaviors and use them as the basis for human motion understanding and communication (Sect. 68.3). These methods are based on statistical techniques widely used in linguistics. The two fields share the common goal of converting continuous and noisy signal to discrete symbols, and therefore it is natural to apply similar techniques. Finally, we introduce some application examples of human motion and models ranging from simulated human control to humanoid robot motion synthesis.

Human motion mapped to a humanoid robot

Author  Katsu Yamane

Video ID : 765

This video shows an example of a humanoid robot controlled using human motion. The robot is equipped with a tracking controller and a balance controller.

Chapter 1 — Robotics and the Handbook

Bruno Siciliano and Oussama Khatib

Robots! Robots on Mars and in oceans, in hospitals and homes, in factories and schools; robots fighting fires, making goods and products, saving time and lives. Robots today are making a considerable impact on many aspects of modern life, from industrial manufacturing to healthcare, transportation, and exploration of the deep space and sea. Tomorrow, robotswill be as pervasive and personal as today’s personal computers. This chapter retraces the evolution of this fascinating field from the ancient to themodern times through a number of milestones: from the first automated mechanical artifact (1400 BC) through the establishment of the robot concept in the 1920s, the realization of the first industrial robots in the 1960s, the definition of robotics science and the birth of an active research community in the 1980s, and the expansion towards the challenges of the human world of the twenty-first century. Robotics in its long journey has inspired this handbook which is organized in three layers: the foundations of robotics science; the consolidated methodologies and technologies of robot design, sensing and perception, manipulation and interfaces, mobile and distributed robotics; the advanced applications of field and service robotics, as well as of human-centered and life-like robotics.

Robots — The journey continues

Author  Bruno Siciliano, Oussama Khatib, Torsten Kröger

Video ID : 812

Following the 2000 history video entitled robots, a 50 year journey (Video ID 805), this new collection brings some of the most influential robots and their applications developed since the turn of the new Millennium (2000 and 2016). The journey continues to illustrate the remarkable acceleration of the robotics field in the new century.

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.

Snake robot climbs a ree

Author  Cornell Wright, Austin Buchan, Ben Brown, Jason Geist, Michael Schwerin, David Rollinson, Matthew Tesch, Howie Choset

Video ID : 393

From the Biorobotics Lab at Carnegie Mellon University, a snake robot (Snakebot) demonstrates how it can climb a tree and look around. Please keep in mind that this robot climbed a specific tree with a specific trunk width to a height about 1 meter off the ground. The researchers working to design, build and program these robots still have much work to do to get these bots to climb taller trees of various sizes and to navigate over branches and wires.

Chapter 58 — Robotics in Hazardous Applications

James Trevelyan, William R. Hamel and Sung-Chul Kang

Robotics researchers have worked hard to realize a long-awaited vision: machines that can eliminate the need for people to work in hazardous environments. Chapter 60 is framed by the vision of disaster response: search and rescue robots carrying people from burning buildings or tunneling through collapsed rock falls to reach trapped miners. In this chapter we review tangible progress towards robots that perform routine work in places too dangerous for humans. Researchers still have many challenges ahead of them but there has been remarkable progress in some areas. Hazardous environments present special challenges for the accomplishment of desired tasks depending on the nature and magnitude of the hazards. Hazards may be present in the form of radiation, toxic contamination, falling objects or potential explosions. Technology that specialized engineering companies can develop and sell without active help from researchers marks the frontier of commercial feasibility. Just inside this border lie teleoperated robots for explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) and for underwater engineering work. Even with the typical tenfold disadvantage in manipulation performance imposed by the limits of today’s telepresence and teleoperation technology, in terms of human dexterity and speed, robots often can offer a more cost-effective solution. However, most routine applications in hazardous environments still lie far beyond the feasibility frontier. Fire fighting, remediating nuclear contamination, reactor decommissioning, tunneling, underwater engineering, underground mining and clearance of landmines and unexploded ordnance still present many unsolved problems.

1961 nuclear-reactor meltdown : The SL-1 accident - United States Army Documentary - WDTVLIVE42

Author  James P. Trevelyan

Video ID : 589

This archive film, though long, provides graphic details on a relatively modest nuclear accident illustrating the difficulties that still face researchers working to provide robotic solutions.

Chapter 53 — Multiple Mobile Robot Systems

Lynne E. Parker, Daniela Rus and Gaurav S. Sukhatme

Within the context of multiple mobile, and networked robot systems, this chapter explores the current state of the art. After a brief introduction, we first examine architectures for multirobot cooperation, exploring the alternative approaches that have been developed. Next, we explore communications issues and their impact on multirobot teams in Sect. 53.3, followed by a discussion of networked mobile robots in Sect. 53.4. Following this we discuss swarm robot systems in Sect. 53.5 and modular robot systems in Sect. 53.6. While swarm and modular systems typically assume large numbers of homogeneous robots, other types of multirobot systems include heterogeneous robots. We therefore next discuss heterogeneity in cooperative robot teams in Sect. 53.7. Once robot teams allow for individual heterogeneity, issues of task allocation become important; Sect. 53.8 therefore discusses common approaches to task allocation. Section 53.9 discusses the challenges of multirobot learning, and some representative approaches. We outline some of the typical application domains which serve as test beds for multirobot systems research in Sect. 53.10. Finally, we conclude in Sect. 53.11 with some summary remarks and suggestions for further reading.

Reconfigurable multi-agents with distributed sensing for robust mobile robots

Author  Robin Murphy

Video ID : 206

In marsupial teams, a mother robot carries one or more daughter robots. This video shows that a mother robot can opportunistically treat daughter robots as surrogate sensors in order to autonomously reconfigure herself to recover from sensor failures.

Chapter 17 — Limbed Systems

Shuuji Kajita and Christian Ott

A limbed system is a mobile robot with a body, legs and arms. First, its general design process is discussed in Sect. 17.1. Then we consider issues of conceptual design and observe designs of various existing robots in Sect. 17.2. As an example in detail, the design of a humanoid robot HRP-4C is shown in Sect. 17.3. To design a limbed system of good performance, it is important to take into account of actuation and control, like gravity compensation, limit cycle dynamics, template models, and backdrivable actuation. These are discussed in Sect. 17.4.

In Sect. 17.5, we overview divergence of limbed systems. We see odd legged walkers, leg–wheel hybrid robots, leg–arm hybrid robots, tethered walking robots, and wall-climbing robots. To compare limbed systems of different configurations,we can use performance indices such as the gait sensitivity norm, the Froude number, and the specific resistance, etc., which are introduced in Sect. 17.6.

StickybotIII climbing robot

Author  Mark R. Cutkosky

Video ID : 540

A walk climbing robot developed by Prof. Cutkosky and his colleagues.