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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.

DLR Hand Arm System throwing a ball and Justin catching it

Author  Alin Albu-Schäffer, Thomas Bahls, Berthold Bäuml, Maxime Chalon, Markus Grebenstein, Oliver Eiberger, Werner Friedl, Hannes Höppner, Dominic Lakatos, Nico Mansfeld, Florian Petit, Jens Reinecke, Roman Weitschat, Sebastian Wolf, Tilo Wüsthoff

Video ID : 547

The DLR Hand Arm System throws a ball and Justin catches it. There is no data connection between the two systems. Justin catches the ball by visual observation.

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.

Salamandra robotica II robot walking and swimming

Author  Alessandro Crespi, Konstantinos Karakasiliotis, Andre Guignard, Auke Jan Ijspeert

Video ID : 395

Salamandra robotica II walking and swimming outdoors and performing the transition from swimming to walking indoors. The transition between two different locomotions and the locomotions themselves is generated by central pattern generation (CPG) and simulation of a mesencephalic locomotor region (MLR). Video from the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne Biorobotics Lab.

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 (3)

Author  Monica Nicolescu

Video ID : 32

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 human demonstration stage. The robot execution 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 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.

Field experiments with the OctArm continuum manipulator

Author  Ian Walker

Video ID : 157

Video overview of the OctArm continuum manipulator's applications and features.

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.

Linear inverted pendulum mode

Author  Shuuji Kajita

Video ID : 512

Demonstration of the linear inverted pendulum mode (LIPM) and its application for biped walking control. This biped robot with parallel link legs was developed by Dr. Kajita and Dr. Tani.

Chapter 63 — Medical Robotics and Computer-Integrated Surgery

Russell H. Taylor, Arianna Menciassi, Gabor Fichtinger, Paolo Fiorini and Paolo Dario

The growth of medical robotics since the mid- 1980s has been striking. From a few initial efforts in stereotactic brain surgery, orthopaedics, endoscopic surgery, microsurgery, and other areas, the field has expanded to include commercially marketed, clinically deployed systems, and a robust and exponentially expanding research community. This chapter will discuss some major themes and illustrate them with examples from current and past research. Further reading providing a more comprehensive review of this rapidly expanding field is suggested in Sect. 63.4.

Medical robotsmay be classified in many ways: by manipulator design (e.g., kinematics, actuation); by level of autonomy (e.g., preprogrammed versus teleoperation versus constrained cooperative control), by targeted anatomy or technique (e.g., cardiac, intravascular, percutaneous, laparoscopic, microsurgical); or intended operating environment (e.g., in-scanner, conventional operating room). In this chapter, we have chosen to focus on the role of medical robots within the context of larger computer-integrated systems including presurgical planning, intraoperative execution, and postoperative assessment and follow-up.

First, we introduce basic concepts of computerintegrated surgery, discuss critical factors affecting the eventual deployment and acceptance of medical robots, and introduce the basic system paradigms of surgical computer-assisted planning, execution, monitoring, and assessment (surgical CAD/CAM) and surgical assistance. In subsequent sections, we provide an overview of the technology ofmedical robot systems and discuss examples of our basic system paradigms, with brief additional discussion topics of remote telesurgery and robotic surgical simulators. We conclude with some thoughts on future research directions and provide suggested further reading.

Variable stiffness manipulator based on layer jamming

Author  MIT/Samsung

Video ID : 832

A tubular, variable-stiffness structure designed for establishing a guide channel for single-port surgery. The thin-layered materials enables jamming stiffness more effectively in a very limited space.

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.

Multi-robot box pushing

Author  C. Ronald Kube, Hong Zhang

Video ID : 199

Robots are used to locate an object in the environment (a box with lights on it) and push it to the desired position (an area of the environment with a light shining on it). The robots cannot communicate with each other, and the box is weighted so at least two robots have to push the box to move it. Each robot has three levels of control. First, it wanders randomly looking for the box. Second, it travels toward the box until contact is made. Third, it checks to see if the box is facing the desired direction; if so, it pushes the box, and, if not, it relocates to a different side of the box.

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 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.

Autonomous, self-contained, soft robotic fish

Author  Andrew D. Marchese, Cagdas D. Onal, Daniela Rus

Video ID : 433

The robotic fish was built by Andrew Marchese, a graduate student in MIT's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and the lead author of the paper, where he is joined by Daniela Rus and postdoc Cagdas D. Onal. Each side of the fish's tail is bored through with a long, tightly undulating channel. Carbon dioxide released from a canister in the fish's abdomen causes the channel to inflate, bending the tail in the opposite direction.

Chapter 49 — Modeling and Control of Wheeled Mobile Robots

Claude Samson, Pascal Morin and Roland Lenain

This chaptermay be seen as a follow up to Chap. 24, devoted to the classification and modeling of basic wheeled mobile robot (WMR) structures, and a natural complement to Chap. 47, which surveys motion planning methods for WMRs. A typical output of these methods is a feasible (or admissible) reference state trajectory for a given mobile robot, and a question which then arises is how to make the physical mobile robot track this reference trajectory via the control of the actuators with which the vehicle is equipped. The object of the present chapter is to bring elements of the answer to this question based on simple and effective control strategies.

The chapter is organized as follows. Section 49.2 is devoted to the choice of controlmodels and the determination of modeling equations associated with the path-following control problem. In Sect. 49.3, the path following and trajectory stabilization problems are addressed in the simplest case when no requirement is made on the robot orientation (i. e., position control). In Sect. 49.4 the same problems are revisited for the control of both position and orientation. The previously mentionned sections consider an ideal robot satisfying the rolling-without-sliding assumption. In Sect. 49.5, we relax this assumption in order to take into account nonideal wheel-ground contact. This is especially important for field-robotics applications and the proposed results are validated through full scale experiments on natural terrain. Finally, a few complementary issues on the feedback control of mobile robots are briefly discussed in the concluding Sect. 49.6, with a list of commented references for further reading on WMRs motion control.

Tracking of an omnidirectional frame with a unicycle-like robot

Author  Guillaume Artus, Pascal Morin, Claude Samson

Video ID : 243

This video shows an experiment performed in 2005 with a unicyle-like robot. A video camera mounted at the top of a robotic arm enabled estimation of the 2-D pose (position/orientation) of the robot with respect to a visual target consisting of three white bars. These bars materialized an omnidirectional moving frame. The experiment demonstrated the capacity of the nonholonomic robot to track in both position and orientation this ominidirectional frame, based on the transverse function control approach.