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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.

Exploration and homing for battery recharge

Author  Dario Floreano

Video ID : 118

Evolved Khepera robot performing exploration and homing for battery recharge. The robot enters the recharging area approximately 2 s before full-battery discharge.

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.

Active compliant insertion

Author  Nabil Simaan

Video ID : 244

Shows rapid deployment of a continuum robot inside a tube using force sensing at the backbones and a generalization of the compliant motion controller initially presented in [1]. This experiment is associated with [2] which is not published. The algorithms have been validated successfully on two cadavers as reported in Hamlyn 2013 paper and in a TBME paper currently under review [1] R. E. Goldman, A. Bajo, N. Simaan: Compliant motion control for continuum robots with intrinsic actuation sensing, Proc. IEEE Int. Conf. Robot. Autom. (ICRA), Shanghai (2011), pp. 1126-1132; [2] R. E. Goldman, A. Bajo, N. Simaan: Compliant motion control for multi-segment continuum robots with actuation force sensing, IEEE Trans. Robot. (2013), submitted

Shoe decoration using concentric tube robot

Author  Pierre Dupont

Video ID : 251

This 2012 video illustrates bimanual robotic shoe decoration using Swarovsky crystals at a charity event for Boston Children's Hospital in Stuart Weitzman's New York City showroom.

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 41 — Active Manipulation for Perception

Anna Petrovskaya and Kaijen Hsiao

This chapter covers perceptual methods in which manipulation is an integral part of perception. These methods face special challenges due to data sparsity and high costs of sensing actions. However, they can also succeed where other perceptual methods fail, for example, in poor-visibility conditions or for learning the physical properties of a scene.

The chapter focuses on specialized methods that have been developed for object localization, inference, planning, recognition, and modeling in activemanipulation approaches.We concludewith a discussion of real-life applications and directions for future research.

6-DOF object localization via touch

Author  Anna Petrovskaya

Video ID : 721

The PUMA robot arm performs 6-DOF localization of an object (i.e., a cash register) via touch starting with global uncertainty. After each contact, the robot analyzes the resulting belief about the object pose. If the uncertainty of the belief is too large, the robot continues to probe the object. Once, the uncertainty is small enough, the robot is able to push buttons and manipulate the drawer based on its knowledge of the object pose and prior knowledge of the object model. A prior 3-D mesh model of the object was constructed by touching the object with the robot's end-effector.

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.

Reconfigurable multi-agents with distributed sensing for robust mobile robots

Author  Robin Murphy

Video ID : 206

In marsupial teams, a mother robot carries one or more daughter robots. This video shows that a mother robot can opportunistically treat daughter robots as surrogate sensors in order to autonomously reconfigure herself to recover from sensor failures.

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.

Robot being used to carry a vacuum-cleaner head at Fukishima powerplant

Author  James P. Trevelyan

Video ID : 581

A video apparently provided by IEEE Spectrum showing views of a robot performing simple vacuum-cleaning tasks.

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.

Passive dynamic walking with knees

Author  Tad McGeer

Video ID : 527

Passive dynamic walker developed by Dr. McGeer.

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 45 — World Modeling

Wolfram Burgard, Martial Hebert and Maren Bennewitz

In this chapter we describe popular ways to represent the environment of a mobile robot. For indoor environments, which are often stored using two-dimensional representations, we discuss occupancy grids, line maps, topologicalmaps, and landmark-based representations. Each of these techniques has its own advantages and disadvantages. Whilst occupancy grid maps allow for quick access and can efficiently be updated, line maps are more compact. Also landmark-basedmaps can efficiently be updated and maintained, however, they do not readily support navigation tasks such as path planning like topological representations do.

Additionally, we discuss approaches suited for outdoor terrain modeling. In outdoor environments, the flat-surface assumption underling many mapping techniques for indoor environments is no longer valid. A very popular approach in this context are elevation and variants maps, which store the surface of the terrain over a regularly spaced grid. Alternatives to such maps are point clouds, meshes, or three-dimensional grids, which provide a greater flexibility but have higher storage demands.

OctoMap visualization

Author  Maren Bennewitz, Wolfram Burgard, Armin Hornung, Cyrill Stachniss, Kai Wurm

Video ID : 79

This video shows the Freiburg Computer Science campus in a 3-D OctoMap. Note that free space is also encoded, although not shown in the video. The map covers an area of 292 x 167 x 28 m^3 and requires only 130 MB in memory at 20 cm resolution.