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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.

Promotional video of robot for cleaning up Fukushima

Author  James P. Trevelyan

Video ID : 583

Many companies have proposed new robots to help with the Fukushima reactor decommissioning process. This is one of many such promotional videos.

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.

VelociRoACH

Author  Duncan W. Haldane, Kevin C. Peterson, Fernando L. Garcia Bermudez, Ronald S. Fearing

Video ID : 408

UC Berkeley's miniature robot VelociRoACH. It is the latest version of the RoACH series which can run at extremely higher speeds relative to previous versions.

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 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.

3-D passive dynamic walking robot

Author  Steven Collins

Video ID : 532

A passive dynamic walking robot in 3-D developed by Dr.Collins.

Chapter 67 — Humanoids

Paul Fitzpatrick, Kensuke Harada, Charles C. Kemp, Yoshio Matsumoto, Kazuhito Yokoi and Eiichi Yoshida

Humanoid robots selectively immitate aspects of human form and behavior. Humanoids come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from complete human-size legged robots to isolated robotic heads with human-like sensing and expression. This chapter highlights significant humanoid platforms and achievements, and discusses some of the underlying goals behind this area of robotics. Humanoids tend to require the integration ofmany of the methods covered in detail within other chapters of this handbook, so this chapter focuses on distinctive aspects of humanoid robotics with liberal cross-referencing.

This chapter examines what motivates researchers to pursue humanoid robotics, and provides a taste of the evolution of this field over time. It summarizes work on legged humanoid locomotion, whole-body activities, and approaches to human–robot communication. It concludes with a brief discussion of factors that may influence the future of humanoid robots.

Footstep planning modeled as a whole-body, inverse-kinematic problem

Author  Eiichi Yoshida

Video ID : 596

An augmented-robot structure was introduced as "virtual" planar links attached to a foot that represents footsteps. This modeling makes it possible to solve the footstep planning as a problem of inverse kinematics, and also to determine the final whole-body configuration. After planning the footsteps, the dynamically-stable, whole-body motion including walking can be computed by using a dynamic pattern generator.

Chapter 39 — Cooperative Manipulation

Fabrizio Caccavale and Masaru Uchiyama

This chapter is devoted to cooperative manipulation of a common object by means of two or more robotic arms. The chapter opens with a historical overview of the research on cooperativemanipulation, ranging from early 1970s to very recent years. Kinematics and dynamics of robotic arms cooperatively manipulating a tightly grasped rigid object are presented in depth. As for the kinematics and statics, the chosen approach is based on the socalled symmetric formulation; fundamentals of dynamics and reduced-order models for closed kinematic chains are discussed as well. A few special topics, such as the definition of geometrically meaningful cooperative task space variables, the problem of load distribution, and the definition of manipulability ellipsoids, are included to give the reader a complete picture ofmodeling and evaluation methodologies for cooperative manipulators. Then, the chapter presents the main strategies for controlling both the motion of the cooperative system and the interaction forces between the manipulators and the grasped object; in detail, fundamentals of hybrid force/position control, proportional–derivative (PD)-type force/position control schemes, feedback linearization techniques, and impedance control approaches are given. In the last section further reading on advanced topics related to control of cooperative robots is suggested; in detail, advanced nonlinear control strategies are briefly discussed (i. e., intelligent control approaches, synchronization control, decentralized control); also, fundamental results on modeling and control of cooperative systems possessing some degree of flexibility are briefly outlined.

Cooperative grasping and transportation of objects using multiple UAVs

Author  Daniel Mellinger, Michael Shomin, Nathan Michael, Vijay Kumar

Video ID : 66

This video shows experiments on cooperative grasping and transportation of objects using multiple UAVs equipped with grippers.

Chapter 34 — Visual Servoing

François Chaumette, Seth Hutchinson and Peter Corke

This chapter introduces visual servo control, using computer vision data in the servo loop to control the motion of a robot. We first describe the basic techniques that are by now well established in the field. We give a general overview of the formulation of the visual servo control problem, and describe the two archetypal visual servo control schemes: image-based and pose-based visual servo control. We then discuss performance and stability issues that pertain to these two schemes, motivating advanced techniques. Of the many advanced techniques that have been developed, we discuss 2.5-D, hybrid, partitioned, and switched approaches. Having covered a variety of control schemes, we deal with target tracking and controlling motion directly in the joint space and extensions to under-actuated ground and aerial robots. We conclude by describing applications of visual servoing in robotics.

2.5-D VS on a 6-DOF robot arm (1)

Author  Francois Chaumette, Seth Hutchinson, Peter Corke

Video ID : 64

This video shows a 2.5-D VS on a 6-DOF robot arm with (x_g, log(Z_g), theta u) as visual features. It corresponds to the results depicted in Figure 34.12.

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: Punching holes

Author  Alin Albu-Schäffer, Thomas Bahls, Maxime Chalon, Markus Grebenstein, Oliver Eiberger, Werner Friedl, Hannes Höppner, Dominic Lakatos, Daniel Leidner, Florian Petit, Jens Reinecke, Sebastian Wolf, Tilo Wüsthoff

Video ID : 546

The DLR Hand Arm System uses a tool to punch holes into a business card. The passive flexibility in the variable stiffness actuators (VSA) helps to keep a stable grasp during the impact and protects the hardware from damage. The movement is realized by cyclic motion control and a learning algorithm to improve the accuracy of the holes.

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.

Waalbot: Agile climbing with synthetic fibrillar dry adhesives

Author  Mike Murphy

Video ID : 541

A wall climbing robot developed by Dr. Murphy and Dr. Sitti.

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.

MARS (multiple autonomous robots)

Author  Camillo J. Taylor, Vijay Kumar

Video ID : 204

The goal of the research is to develop a framework and the support tools for the deployment of multiple autonomous robots in an unstructured and unknown environment, with applications to reconnaissance, surveillance, target acquisition, and the removal of explosive ordnance. The current state of the art in control software enables supervised autonomy, a paradigm in which a human user can command and control one robot using teleoperation and close supervisory control. The objective here is to develop the software framework and tools for a new generation of autonomous robots.