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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.

Antwerp biomimetic sonar system tracking two balls

Author  Herbert Peremans

Video ID : 317

The Antwerp biomimetic bat-head sonar system consists of a single emitter and two receivers. The receivers are constructed by inserting a small omnidirectional microphone in the ear canal of a plastic replica of the outer ear of the bat Phyllostomus discolor. Using the head-related transfer (HRTF) cues, the system is able to localize multiple reflectors in three dimensions based on a single emission. This video demonstrates the tracking of two balls serving as targets.

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.

The "DLR Hand"

Author  DLR - Robotics and Mechatronics Center

Video ID : 754

Many articulated hands have been developed at DLR, often representing the state of the art in the field. The video shows the 2011 version in this series.

Chapter 36 — Motion for Manipulation Tasks

James Kuffner and Jing Xiao

This chapter serves as an introduction to Part D by giving an overview of motion generation and control strategies in the context of robotic manipulation tasks. Automatic control ranging from the abstract, high-level task specification down to fine-grained feedback at the task interface are considered. Some of the important issues include modeling of the interfaces between the robot and the environment at the different time scales of motion and incorporating sensing and feedback. Manipulation planning is introduced as an extension to the basic motion planning problem, which can be modeled as a hybrid system of continuous configuration spaces arising from the act of grasping and moving parts in the environment. The important example of assembly motion is discussed through the analysis of contact states and compliant motion control. Finally, methods aimed at integrating global planning with state feedback control are summarized.

Grasp and multifingers-three cylindrical peg-in-hole demonstration using manipulation primitives

Author  Karl P. Kleinmann et al.

Video ID : 360

This video shows a cylindrical peg-in-hole task performed by a three-finger tendon driven robot. Manipulation primitives are used to perform the task depending on the requirements of the various assembly stages.

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.

Exploitation of social cues to speed up learning

Author  Sylvain Calinon, Aude Billard

Video ID : 106

Use of social cues to speed up the imitation-learning process, with gazing and pointing information to select the objects relevant for the task. Reference: S. Calinon, A.G. Billard: Teaching a humanoid robot to recognize and reproduce social cues, Proc. IEEE Int. Symp. Robot Human Interactive Communication (Ro-Man), Hatfield (2006), pp. 346–351; URL: .

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.

More complex robots evolve in more complex environments

Author  Josh Bongard

Video ID : 772

This set of videos demonstrates that complex environments influence the evolution of robots with more complex body plans.

Chapter 15 — Robot Learning

Jan Peters, Daniel D. Lee, Jens Kober, Duy Nguyen-Tuong, J. Andrew Bagnell and Stefan Schaal

Machine learning offers to robotics a framework and set of tools for the design of sophisticated and hard-to-engineer behaviors; conversely, the challenges of robotic problems provide both inspiration, impact, and validation for developments in robot learning. The relationship between disciplines has sufficient promise to be likened to that between physics and mathematics. In this chapter, we attempt to strengthen the links between the two research communities by providing a survey of work in robot learning for learning control and behavior generation in robots. We highlight both key challenges in robot learning as well as notable successes. We discuss how contributions tamed the complexity of the domain and study the role of algorithms, representations, and prior knowledge in achieving these successes. As a result, a particular focus of our chapter lies on model learning for control and robot reinforcement learning. We demonstrate how machine learning approaches may be profitably applied, and we note throughout open questions and the tremendous potential for future research.

Inverted helicopter hovering

Author  Pieter Abbeel

Video ID : 352

An example of simulation-based optimization using a learned forward model. This brief video shows a successful application of reinforcement learning to the design of a controller for sustained inverted flight of an autonomous helicopter. The authors began by learning a stochastic, nonlinear forward model of the helicopter’s dynamics. Then, a reinforcement learning algorithm was applied to automatically learn a controller for autonomous inverted hovering. The video illustrates Section 15.2.5 -- Applications of Model Learning, Springer Handbook of Robotics, 2nd ed (2016); Reference: A.Y. Ng, A. Coates, M. Diel, V. Ganapathi, J. Schulte, B. Tse, E. Berger, E. Liang: Autonomous inverted helicopter flight via reinforcement learning, IX Int. Symp. Exp. Robot. 2004, Springer Tract. Adv. Robot. 21, 363-372 (2006)

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.

Parallel 5R robot

Author  Ilian Bonev

Video ID : 46

This video demonstrates a planar parallel 5R robot that is designed to fully exploit its workspace.

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: Demonstration (2)

Author  Monica Nicolescu

Video ID : 30

This is a video recorded in early 2000s, showing a Pioneer robot learning to slalom around a number of targets in a certain order - the human demonstration stage. The robot execution stage is also shown in a related video in this chapter. References: 1. M. Nicolescu, M.J. Mataric: Experience-based learning of task representations from human-robot interaction, Proc. IEEE Int. Symp. Comput. Intell. Robot. Autom. , Banff (2001), pp. 463-468; 2. M. Nicolescu, M.J. Mataric: Learning and interacting in human-robot domains, IEEE Trans. Syst. Man Cybernet. A31(5), 419-430 (2001)

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.

Example of muscle tensions computed from motion-capture data

Author  Katsu Yamane

Video ID : 763

This video shows an example of muscle tensions computed from motion-capture data. The muscle color changes from yellow to red as the tension increases. The blue lines represent tendons.

Chapter 26 — Flying Robots

Stefan Leutenegger, Christoph Hürzeler, Amanda K. Stowers, Kostas Alexis, Markus W. Achtelik, David Lentink, Paul Y. Oh and Roland Siegwart

Unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) have drawn increasing attention recently, owing to advancements in related research, technology, and applications. While having been deployed successfully in military scenarios for decades, civil use cases have lately been tackled by the robotics research community.

This chapter overviews the core elements of this highly interdisciplinary field; the reader is guided through the design process of aerial robots for various applications starting with a qualitative characterization of different types of UAS. Design and modeling are closely related, forming a typically iterative process of drafting and analyzing the related properties. Therefore, we overview aerodynamics and dynamics, as well as their application to fixed-wing, rotary-wing, and flapping-wing UAS, including related analytical tools and practical guidelines. Respecting use-case-specific requirements and core autonomous robot demands, we finally provide guidelines to related system integration challenges.

The astounding athletic power of quadcopters

Author  Raffaello D'Andrea

Video ID : 694

In a robot lab at TEDGlobal, Raffaello D'Andrea demonstrates his flying quadcopters: Robots that think like athletes, solving physical problems with algorithms that help them learn. In a series of nifty demos, D'Andrea works with drones that play catch, balance and make decisions together -- and watch out for an I-want-this-now demo of Kinect-controlled quads.