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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.


Author  Tian Huang

Video ID : 47

This video demonstrates a 2-DOF high-speed parallel robot (Diamond).

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.

AtlantikSolar field-trials

Author  Kostas Alexis

Video ID : 602

This video presents a small subset of the Autonomous Systems Lab (ASL) activities that took place during the ICARUS Field Trials in Marche-en-Famenne, Belgium, 8-12 September 2014. The ASL fixed-wing team went there with the solar-powered AtlantikSolar UAV and presented its advanced capabilities regarding long endurance flight, advanced estimation and control, autonomous navigation for complete coverage and its perception capabilities for search and rescue and map reconstruction. More information:;;

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.

Binary manipulator navigating an obstacle

Author  Greg Chirikjian

Video ID : 163

Simulation of Greg Chirikjian's binary manipulator navigating an obstacle.

Chapter 46 — Simultaneous Localization and Mapping

Cyrill Stachniss, John J. Leonard and Sebastian Thrun

This chapter provides a comprehensive introduction in to the simultaneous localization and mapping problem, better known in its abbreviated form as SLAM. SLAM addresses the main perception problem of a robot navigating an unknown environment. While navigating the environment, the robot seeks to acquire a map thereof, and at the same time it wishes to localize itself using its map. The use of SLAM problems can be motivated in two different ways: one might be interested in detailed environment models, or one might seek to maintain an accurate sense of a mobile robot’s location. SLAM serves both of these purposes.

We review the three major paradigms from which many published methods for SLAM are derived: (1) the extended Kalman filter (EKF); (2) particle filtering; and (3) graph optimization. We also review recent work in three-dimensional (3-D) SLAM using visual and red green blue distance-sensors (RGB-D), and close with a discussion of open research problems in robotic mapping.

Graph-based SLAM using TORO

Author  Cyrill Stachniss

Video ID : 446

This video provides an illustration of graph-based SLAM, as described in Chap. 46.3.3, Springer Handbook of Robotics, 2nd edn (2016), using the TORO algorithm. Reference: G. Grisetti, C. Stachniss, S. Grzonka, W. Burgard. A tree parameterization for efficiently computing maximum likelihood maps using gradient descent, Proc. Robot. Sci. Syst. (RSS), Atlanta (2007)

Chapter 37 — Contact Modeling and Manipulation

Imin Kao, Kevin M. Lynch and Joel W. Burdick

Robotic manipulators use contact forces to grasp and manipulate objects in their environments. Fixtures rely on contacts to immobilize workpieces. Mobile robots and humanoids use wheels or feet to generate the contact forces that allow them to locomote. Modeling of the contact interface, therefore, is fundamental to analysis, design, planning, and control of many robotic tasks.

This chapter presents an overview of the modeling of contact interfaces, with a particular focus on their use in manipulation tasks, including graspless or nonprehensile manipulation modes such as pushing. Analysis and design of grasps and fixtures also depends on contact modeling, and these are discussed in more detail in Chap. 38. Sections 37.2–37.5 focus on rigid-body models of contact. Section 37.2 describes the kinematic constraints caused by contact, and Sect. 37.3 describes the contact forces that may arise with Coulomb friction. Section 37.4 provides examples of analysis of multicontact manipulation tasks with rigid bodies and Coulomb friction. Section 37.5 extends the analysis to manipulation by pushing. Section 37.6 introduces modeling of contact interfaces, kinematic duality, and pressure distribution and soft contact interface. Section 37.7 describes the concept of the friction limit surface and illustrates it with an example demonstrating the construction of a limit surface for a soft contact. Finally, Sect. 37.8 discusses how these more accurate models can be used in fixture analysis and design.

Programmable velocity vector fields by 6-DOF vibration

Author  Tom Vose, Matt Turpin, Philip Dames, Paul Umbanhowar, Kevin M. Lynch

Video ID : 804

This video generalizes the idea of transporting parts using horizontal and vertical vibration shown in the previous video and illustrated in Fig. 37.9 in Chap. 37.4.3 of the Springer Handbook of Robotics, 2nd ed (2016). In this video, a rigid supporting plate is vibrated with an arbitrary periodic 6-DOF motion profile. This periodic vibration enables control of the normal forces and horizontal plate velocities as a function of the position on the plate, effectively creating programmable velocity vector fields induced by friction. This video demonstrates five such velocity fields in sequence, each created by a different periodic vibration of the plate.

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.

Control pre-imaging for multifingered grasp synthesis

Author  Jefferson A. Coelho Jr. et al.

Video ID : 363

The video demonstrates sensory-motor control for multifingered manipulation. The first part of the video shows a top and a lateral grasp of rectangular blocks synthesized by the proposed controller. The second part shows dexterous manipulation tests, controlling stable multiple fingers to walk over the surface of an object while grasping the object.

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 (2)

Author  Francois Chaumette, Seth Hutchinson, Peter Corke

Video ID : 65

This video shows a 2.5-D VS on a 6 DOF robot arm with (c*^t_c, x_g, theta u_z) as visual features. It corresponds to the results depicted in Figure 34.13.

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 24 — Wheeled Robots

Woojin Chung and Karl Iagnemma

The purpose of this chapter is to introduce, analyze, and compare various wheeled mobile robots (WMRs) and to present several realizations and commonly encountered designs. The mobility of WMR is discussed on the basis of the kinematic constraints resulting from the pure rolling conditions at the contact points between the wheels and the ground. Practical robot structures are classified according to the number of wheels, and features are introduced focusing on commonly adopted designs. Omnimobile robot and articulated robots realizations are described. Wheel–terrain interaction models are presented in order to compute forces at the contact interface. Four possible wheel-terrain interaction cases are shown on the basis of relative stiffness of the wheel and terrain. A suspension system is required to move on uneven surfaces. Structures, dynamics, and important features of commonly used suspensions are explained.

An innovative planetary rover with extended climbing abilities

Author  Roland Siegwart

Video ID : 329

This video shows a suspension design for a prototype planetary exploration rover. In this suspension design, each wheel is equipped with independent actuators and a linkage mechanism that enables the robot to adapt its configuration to irregular ground conditions. This enables the rover to exhibit superior traction and obstacle-crossing performance compared to those with a standard suspension.

Chapter 57 — Robotics in Construction

Kamel S. Saidi, Thomas Bock and Christos Georgoulas

This chapter introduces various construction automation concepts that have been developed over the past few decades and presents examples of construction robots that are in current use (as of 2006) and/or in various stages of research and development. Section 57.1 presents an overview of the construction industry, which includes descriptions of the industry, the types of construction, and the typical construction project. The industry overview also discusses the concept of automation versus robotics in construction and breaks down the concept of robotics in construction into several levels of autonomy as well as other categories. Section 57.2 discusses some of the offsite applications of robotics in construction (such as for prefabrication), while Sect. 57.3 discusses the use of robots that perform a single task at the construction site. Section 57.4 introduces the concept of an integrated robotized construction site in which multiple robots/machines collaborate to build an entire structure. Section 57.5 discusses unsolved technical problems in construction robotics, which include interoperability, connection systems, tolerances, and power and communications. Finally, Sect. 57.6 discusses future directions in construction robotics and Sect. 57.7 gives some conclusions and suggests resources for further reading.

Obayashi ACBS (Automatic Constructions Building System)

Author  Thomas Bock

Video ID : 272

In the Obayashi ACBS (Automatic Constructions Building System) (Figure 57.29), once a story has been finished, the whole support structure, which rests on four columns, is pushed upwards by hydraulic presses to the next story over a 1.5 h period. Fully extended, the support structure is 25 m high; retracted it measures 4.5 m. Once everything has been moved up, work starts on the next story. By constructing the topmost story of the high-rise building as the roof at the beginning of the building process, the site is closed off in all directions, considerably reducing the effect of the weather and any damage it might cause.