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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.

Cybernetic human HRP-4C quick turn

Author  AIST

Video ID : 525

Quick slip-turn of an HRP-4C on its toes developed by Dr. Miura, Dr. Kanehiro, Dr. Kaneko, Dr. Kajita, and Dr. Yokoi.

IHMC/Yobotics biped

Author  Jerry Pratt

Video ID : 530

A 12 DOF biped walking robot driven by linear series elastic actuators developed by researchers at IHMC and Yobotics.

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 group coordination

Author  Phil Husbands

Video ID : 376

Identical evolved robots are required to coordinate by coming together and moving off in the same direction. No roles are pre-assigned. The robots must evolve to coordinate such that one robot takes on the role of leader and the others follow. Only minimal sensing is available (proximity IR sensing) and no dedicated communication channels. The robot neural-network controllers are evolved using a minimal simualtion and, as can be seen, these successfully transfer to reality. Work by Matt Quinn, Giles Mayley, Linc Smith and Phil Husbands at Sussex University.

Chapter 72 — Social Robotics

Cynthia Breazeal, Kerstin Dautenhahn and Takayuki Kanda

This chapter surveys some of the principal research trends in Social Robotics and its application to human–robot interaction (HRI). Social (or Sociable) robots are designed to interact with people in a natural, interpersonal manner – often to achieve positive outcomes in diverse applications such as education, health, quality of life, entertainment, communication, and tasks requiring collaborative teamwork. The long-term goal of creating social robots that are competent and capable partners for people is quite a challenging task. They will need to be able to communicate naturally with people using both verbal and nonverbal signals. They will need to engage us not only on a cognitive level, but on an emotional level as well in order to provide effective social and task-related support to people. They will need a wide range of socialcognitive skills and a theory of other minds to understand human behavior, and to be intuitively understood by people. A deep understanding of human intelligence and behavior across multiple dimensions (i. e., cognitive, affective, physical, social, etc.) is necessary in order to design robots that can successfully play a beneficial role in the daily lives of people. This requires a multidisciplinary approach where the design of social robot technologies and methodologies are informed by robotics, artificial intelligence, psychology, neuroscience, human factors, design, anthropology, and more.

Social learning applied to task execution

Author  Cynthia Breazeal

Video ID : 562

This is a video demonstration of the Leonardo robot integrating learning via tutelage, self motivated learning and preference learning to perform a tangram-like task. First the robot learns a policy for how to operate a remote-control box to reveal key shapes needed for the next task, integrating self-motivated exploration with tutelage. The human can shape what the robot learns through a variety of social means. Once Leo has learned a policy, the robot begins the tangram task, which is to make a sailboat figure out of the colored blocks on the virtual workspace. During this interaction, the person has a preference for which block colors to use (yellow and blue), which he conveys through nonverbal means. The robot learns this preference rule from observing these nonverbal cues. During the task, the robot needs blocks of a certain shape and color and which are not readily available on the workspace, but can be accessed by operating the remote-control box to reveal those shapes. Leo evokes those recently learned policies to access those shapes to achieve the goal of making the sailboat figure.

Chapter 13 — Behavior-Based Systems

François Michaud and Monica Nicolescu

Nature is filled with examples of autonomous creatures capable of dealing with the diversity, unpredictability, and rapidly changing conditions of the real world. Such creatures must make decisions and take actions based on incomplete perception, time constraints, limited knowledge about the world, cognition, reasoning and physical capabilities, in uncontrolled conditions and with very limited cues about the intent of others. Consequently, one way of evaluating intelligence is based on the creature’s ability to make the most of what it has available to handle the complexities of the real world. The main objective of this chapter is to explain behavior-based systems and their use in autonomous control problems and applications. The chapter is organized as follows. Section 13.1 overviews robot control, introducing behavior-based systems in relation to other established approaches to robot control. Section 13.2 follows by outlining the basic principles of behavior-based systems that make them distinct from other types of robot control architectures. The concept of basis behaviors, the means of modularizing behavior-based systems, is presented in Sect. 13.3. Section 13.4 describes how behaviors are used as building blocks for creating representations for use by behavior-based systems, enabling the robot to reason about the world and about itself in that world. Section 13.5 presents several different classes of learning methods for behavior-based systems, validated on single-robot and multirobot systems. Section 13.6 provides an overview of various robotics problems and application domains that have successfully been addressed or are currently being studied with behavior-based control. Finally, Sect. 13.7 concludes the chapter.

Experience-based learning of high-level task representations: Reproduction (3)

Author  Monica Nicolescu

Video ID : 33

This is a video recorded in early 2000s, showing a Pioneer robot learning to traverse "gates" and move objects from a source place to a destination - the robot is reproducing the learned task. The robot training stage is also shown in a related video in this chapter. Reference: M. Nicolescu, M.J. Mataric: Learning and interacting in human-robot domains, IEEE Trans. Syst. Man Cybernet. A31(5), 419-430 (2001)

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 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.

VSA-Cube arm: Drawing on a wavy surface (high stiffness)

Author  Centro di Ricerca "E. Piaggio"

Video ID : 472

A 3-DOF arm, built with VSA-cube units, performing a circle on a wavy surface with preset uniformly high stiffness.

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.

JPL dual-arm telerobot system

Author  Antal K. Bejczy, Zoltan Szakaly

Video ID : 298

This video shows a dual-arm, force-reflecting telerobotic system developed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for space teleoperation applications of kinematically and dynamically different slave systems. Presented at ICRA 1990.

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.

Demonstration by visual tracking of gestures

Author  Ales Ude

Video ID : 99

Demonstration by visual tracking of gestures. Reference: A. Ude: Trajectory generation from noisy positions of object features for teaching robot paths, Robot. Auton. Syst. 11(2), 113–127 (1993); URL: .

Chapter 19 — Robot Hands

Claudio Melchiorri and Makoto Kaneko

Multifingered robot hands have a potential capability for achieving dexterous manipulation of objects by using rolling and sliding motions. This chapter addresses design, actuation, sensing and control of multifingered robot hands. From the design viewpoint, they have a strong constraint in actuator implementation due to the space limitation in each joint. After briefly introducing the overview of anthropomorphic end-effector and its dexterity in Sect. 19.1, various approaches for actuation are provided with their advantages and disadvantages in Sect. 19.2. The key classification is (1) remote actuation or build-in actuation and (2) the relationship between the number of joints and the number of actuator. In Sect. 19.3, actuators and sensors used for multifingered hands are described. In Sect. 19.4, modeling and control are introduced by considering both dynamic effects and friction. Applications and trends are given in Sect. 19.5. Finally, this chapter is closed with conclusions and further reading.

A high-speed hand

Author  Ishikawa Komuro Lab

Video ID : 755

Ishikawa Komuro Lab's high-speed robot hand performing impressive acts of dexterity and skillful manipulation.