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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.

Robots answer nuclear-waste challenges at SRS

Author  James P. Trevelyan

Video ID : 593

Promotional video to reassure citizens that earnest efforts are being made to remove historical nuclear contamination from their neighbourhood. It is not clear how effective the robotic devices were in practice, however.

Chapter 79 — Robotics for Education

David P. Miller and Illah Nourbakhsh

Educational robotics programs have become popular in most developed countries and are becoming more and more prevalent in the developing world as well. Robotics is used to teach problem solving, programming, design, physics, math and even music and art to students at all levels of their education. This chapter provides an overview of some of the major robotics programs along with the robot platforms and the programming environments commonly used. Like robot systems used in research, there is a constant development and upgrade of hardware and software – so this chapter provides a snapshot of the technologies being used at this time. The chapter concludes with a review of the assessment strategies that can be used to determine if a particular robotics program is benefitting students in the intended ways.

Autonomous aerial-vehicle, carrier-landing contest (2001)

Author  KIPR

Video ID : 633

KIPR's first aerial robot contest featuring several middle and high schools from Oklahoma and neighboring states. It was held at the University of Oklahoma's Rawl Engineering Practice Facility. Teams used AR drones and KIPR's CBC2 controller to program the drone and have the drone react autonomously. No human control was used. Four very different approaches are shown to the event, in which the teams programmed their robots to totry land on a moving platform.

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.

CLASH: Climbing loose vertical cloth

Author  Paul Birkmeyer, Andrew G. Gillies, Ronald S. Fearing

Video ID : 391

CLASH is a 10 cm, 15 g robot capable of climbing vertical loose-cloth surfaces at 15 cm/s. The robot has a single actuator driving its six legs which are equipped with novel passive foot mechanisms to facilitate smooth engagement and disengagement of spines. Descended from the DASH hexapedal robot, CLASH features a redesigned transmission with a lower profile and improved dynamics for climbing.

RoACH: a 2.4 gram, untethered, crawling hexapod robot

Author  Aaron M. Hoover, Erik Steltz, Ronald S. Fearing

Video ID : 286

The robotic autonomous crawling hexapod (RoACH) is made using lightweight composites with integrated flexural hinges. It is actuated by two shape-memory-alloy wires and controlled by a PIC microprocessor. It can communicate over IrDA and run untethered for more than nine minutes on a single charge.

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.

The Nerd Herd

Author  Maja J. Mataric

Video ID : 34

This is a video showing the work done in the early 1990s with the Nerd Herd used as a multirobot behavior-based system. Reference: M.J. Matarić: Designing and understanding adaptive group behavior, Adapt. Behav. 4(1), 50–81 (1995)

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.

Dynamic surface grasping with directional adhesion

Author  Elliot W. Hawkes, David L. Christensen, Eric V. Eason, Matthew A. Estrada, Matthew Heverly, Evan Hilgemann, Hao Jiang, Morgan T. Pope, Aaron Parness, Mark R. Cutkosky

Video ID : 413

This video shows applications for perching UAVs and grasping space junk.

Chapter 4 — Mechanism and Actuation

Victor Scheinman, J. Michael McCarthy and Jae-Bok Song

This chapter focuses on the principles that guide the design and construction of robotic systems. The kinematics equations and Jacobian of the robot characterize its range of motion and mechanical advantage, and guide the selection of its size and joint arrangement. The tasks a robot is to perform and the associated precision of its movement determine detailed features such as mechanical structure, transmission, and actuator selection. Here we discuss in detail both the mathematical tools and practical considerations that guide the design of mechanisms and actuation for a robot system.

The following sections (Sect. 4.1) discuss characteristics of the mechanisms and actuation that affect the performance of a robot. Sections 4.2–4.6 discuss the basic features of a robot manipulator and their relationship to the mathematical model that is used to characterize its performance. Sections 4.7 and 4.8 focus on the details of the structure and actuation of the robot and how they combine to yield various types of robots. The final Sect. 4.9 relates these design features to various performance metrics.

Three-fingered robot hand

Author  Masatoshi Ishikawa

Video ID : 642

Fig. 4.5 to Fig. 4.7 Three-fingered robot hand moving very fast.

Chapter 32 — 3-D Vision for Navigation and Grasping

Danica Kragic and Kostas Daniilidis

In this chapter, we describe algorithms for three-dimensional (3-D) vision that help robots accomplish navigation and grasping. To model cameras, we start with the basics of perspective projection and distortion due to lenses. This projection from a 3-D world to a two-dimensional (2-D) image can be inverted only by using information from the world or multiple 2-D views. If we know the 3-D model of an object or the location of 3-D landmarks, we can solve the pose estimation problem from one view. When two views are available, we can compute the 3-D motion and triangulate to reconstruct the world up to a scale factor. When multiple views are given either as sparse viewpoints or a continuous incoming video, then the robot path can be computer and point tracks can yield a sparse 3-D representation of the world. In order to grasp objects, we can estimate 3-D pose of the end effector or 3-D coordinates of the graspable points on the object.

Google's Project Tango

Author  Google, Inc.

Video ID : 120

Google's Project Tango has been collaborating with robotics laboratories from around the world to synthesize the past decade of research and computer vision into the development of a new class of mobile devices. This video contains one of the first public announcements and presentations of a device that can be used for multiple robot-perception applications described in this chapter.

Chapter 65 — Domestic Robotics

Erwin Prassler, Mario E. Munich, Paolo Pirjanian and Kazuhiro Kosuge

When the first edition of this book was published domestic robots were spoken of as a dream that was slowly becoming reality. At that time, in 2008, we looked back on more than twenty years of research and development in domestic robotics, especially in cleaning robotics. Although everybody expected cleaning to be the killer app for domestic robotics in the first half of these twenty years nothing big really happened. About ten years before the first edition of this book appeared, all of a sudden things started moving. Several small, but also some larger enterprises announced that they would soon launch domestic cleaning robots. The robotics community was anxiously awaiting these first cleaning robots and so were consumers. The big burst, however, was yet to come. The price tag of those cleaning robots was far beyond what people were willing to pay for a vacuum cleaner. It took another four years until, in 2002, a small and inexpensive device, which was not even called a cleaning robot, brought the first breakthrough: Roomba. Sales of the Roomba quickly passed the first million robots and increased rapidly. While for the first years after Roomba’s release, the big players remained on the sidelines, possibly to revise their own designs and, in particular their business models and price tags, some other small players followed quickly and came out with their own products. We reported about theses devices and their creators in the first edition. Since then the momentum in the field of domestics robotics has steadily increased. Nowadays most big appliance manufacturers have domestic cleaning robots in their portfolio. We are not only seeing more and more domestic cleaning robots and lawn mowers on the market, but we are also seeing new types of domestic robots, window cleaners, plant watering robots, tele-presence robots, domestic surveillance robots, and robotic sports devices. Some of these new types of domestic robots are still prototypes or concept studies. Others have already crossed the threshold to becoming commercial products.

For the second edition of this chapter, we have decided to not only enumerate the devices that have emerged and survived in the past five years, but also to take a look back at how it all began, contrasting this retrospection with the burst of progress in the past five years in domestic cleaning robotics. We will not describe and discuss in detail every single cleaning robot that has seen the light of the day, but select those that are representative for the evolution of the technology as well as the market. We will also reserve some space for new types of mobile domestic robots, which will be the success stories or failures for the next edition of this chapter. Further we will look into nonmobile domestic robots, also called smart appliances, and examine their fate. Last but not least, we will look at the recent developments in the area of intelligent homes that surround and, at times, also control the mobile domestic robots and smart appliances described in the preceding sections.

Serbot Robot Clean Ant Profi

Author  Erwin Prassler

Video ID : 737

Video presents a professional window-leaning robot Serbot.

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.

ATRON robot showing robust and reversible execution of self-reconfiguration sequences

Author  Ulrik Pagh Schultz

Video ID : 5

ATRON robot showing robust and reversible execution of self-reconfiguration sequences.