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Chapter 9 — Force Control

Luigi Villani and Joris De Schutter

A fundamental requirement for the success of a manipulation task is the capability to handle the physical contact between a robot and the environment. Pure motion control turns out to be inadequate because the unavoidable modeling errors and uncertainties may cause a rise of the contact force, ultimately leading to an unstable behavior during the interaction, especially in the presence of rigid environments. Force feedback and force control becomes mandatory to achieve a robust and versatile behavior of a robotic system in poorly structured environments as well as safe and dependable operation in the presence of humans. This chapter starts from the analysis of indirect force control strategies, conceived to keep the contact forces limited by ensuring a suitable compliant behavior to the end effector, without requiring an accurate model of the environment. Then the problem of interaction tasks modeling is analyzed, considering both the case of a rigid environment and the case of a compliant environment. For the specification of an interaction task, natural constraints set by the task geometry and artificial constraints set by the control strategy are established, with respect to suitable task frames. This formulation is the essential premise to the synthesis of hybrid force/motion control schemes.

Experiments of spatial impedance control

Author  Fabrizio Caccavale, Ciro Natale, Bruno Siciliano, Luigi Villani

Video ID : 686

The videod results of an experimental study of impedance control schemes for a robot manipulator in contact with the environment are presented. Six-DOF interaction tasks are considered that require the implementation of a spatial impedance described in terms of both its translational and its rotational parts. Two representations of end-effector orientation are adopted, namely, Euler angles and quaternions, and the implications for the choice of different orientation displacements are discussed. The controllers are tested on an industrial robot with open-control architecture in a number of case studies. This work was published in A. Casals, A.T. de Almeida (Eds.): Experimental Robotics V, Lect. Note. Control Inform. Sci. 232 (Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg 1998)

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].

RobotRoach with adaptive gait-pattern variations

Author  Fumiya Iida, Auke Ijspeert

Video ID : 112

This video presents variations of adaptive-gait patterns inspired by insect locomotion. The computational models of central pattern generators were implemented on the physical platform to investigate its robustness and its flexibility of locomotion in many variations of its environment.

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.

Task-consistent, obstacle avoidance for mobile manipulation

Author  Oliver Brock, Oussama Khatib, Sriram Viji

Video ID : 784

This robot can avoid moving obstacles with real-time path modification by using an elastic-strip framework. However, the real-time path modification can interfere with task execution. The proposed task-consistent, elastic planning method can ensure the task execution while achieving obstacle avoidance.

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.

Modsnake climbing a tree

Author  Howie Choset

Video ID : 168

The CMU Modsnake climbing a tree and surveying an area from this high vantage point.

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.

An assistive, decision-and-control architecture for force-sensitive, hand–arm systems driven by human–machine interfaces (MM3)

Author  Jörn Vogel, Sami Haddadin, John D. Simeral, Daniel Bacher , Beata Jarosiewicz, Leigh R. Hochberg, John P. Donoghue, Patrick van der Smagt

Video ID : 621

This video shows a 3-D reach and grasp experiment using the Braingate2 neural interface system. The robot is controlled through a multipriority Cartesian impedance controller and its behavior is extended with collision detection and reflex reaction. Furthermore, virtual workspaces are added to ensure safety. On top of this a decision-and-control architecture, which uses sensory information available from the robotic system to evaluate the current state of task execution, is employed. Available assistive skills of the robotic system are not actively helping in this task but they are used to evaluate task success.

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).

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.

Evolved GasNet visualisation

Author  Phil Husbands

Video ID : 375

The video shows a successfully evolved GasNet controlling a simulated robot engaged in a visual-discrimination task under noisy lighting. The GasNet architecture and all node properties are evolved along with the visual sampling morphology (parts of the visual field used as inputs to the GasNet). A minimal simulation is used which allows transfer to the real robot (see Sussex gantry Video 371). A highly minimal controller and visual morphology have evolved. The system is highly robust, coping with very noisy conditions. As can be seen, the GasNet employs multiple oscillator subcircuits - partly to filter out noise. Work by Tom Smith and Phil Husbands.

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.

BLUE: A biped robot with variable stiffness and damping

Author  Chengxu Zhou, Xin Wang, Zhibin Li, Nikolaos Tsagarakis

Video ID : 466

The video includes clips of the robot walking, squatting while displaying various degrees of stiffness, and the stiffness adjustment mechanism.

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.

Swarm robot system

Author  James McLurkin

Video ID : 215

This video captures the interactions in a robot system developed at MIT, illustrating several swarm behaviors. These behaviors include dispersing, clumping, and following-the-leader.