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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.

Nuclear manipulator, remote-handling equipment (1960)

Author  James P. Trevelyan

Video ID : 588

Demonstration video showing the pouring of a cup of tea – illustrates the dexterity of these popular manipulators which are ubiquitous in nuclear laboratories.

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.

Whole-body "pivoting" manipulation

Author  Eiichi Yoshida

Video ID : 595

The humanoid robot performs "pivoting" manipulation to carry a bulky object without lifting. A coarse path of the object towards its goal position is first planned to compute the trajectory of the hands which perform the manipulation. Then foot positions are determined along the object path, from which the COM trajectory is derived using the dynamic walking-pattern generator. Those tasks are provided to the inverse kinematics to generate the coordinated arm and leg motion for this complex manipulation. The second video shows the motion planning combining pivoting manipulation and free walking motion in a more complex environment.

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.

Horizontal transport by 2-DOF vibration

Author  Kevin M. Lynch, Paul Umbanhowar

Video ID : 803

This video demonstrates the use of vertical and horizontal vibration of a supporting bar to cause the object on top to slide one way or the other. Upward acceleration of the bar increases the normal force, thereby increasing the tangential friction force during sliding. With periodic vibration, the object achieves a limit-cycle motion. By choosing the phasing of the vertical and horizontal vibration, the net motion during a limit cycle can be to the left or right. Video shown at 1/20 actual speed. This video is related to the example shown in Fig. 37.9 in Chap. 37.4.3 of the Springer Handbook of Robotics, 2nd ed (2016).

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.

iRobots used to examine interior of Fukushima powerplant

Author  James P. Trevelyan

Video ID : 579

Brief videos of robots in operation at the Fukushima plant, with English commentary from contemporary news sources.

Chapter 30 — Sonar Sensing

Lindsay Kleeman and Roman Kuc

Sonar or ultrasonic sensing uses the propagation of acoustic energy at higher frequencies than normal hearing to extract information from the environment. This chapter presents the fundamentals and physics of sonar sensing for object localization, landmark measurement and classification in robotics applications. The source of sonar artifacts is explained and how they can be dealt with. Different ultrasonic transducer technologies are outlined with their main characteristics highlighted.

Sonar systems are described that range in sophistication from low-cost threshold-based ranging modules to multitransducer multipulse configurations with associated signal processing requirements capable of accurate range and bearing measurement, interference rejection, motion compensation, and target classification. Continuous-transmission frequency-modulated (CTFM) systems are introduced and their ability to improve target sensitivity in the presence of noise is discussed. Various sonar ring designs that provide rapid surrounding environmental coverage are described in conjunction with mapping results. Finally the chapter ends with a discussion of biomimetic sonar, which draws inspiration from animals such as bats and dolphins.

Antwerp biomimetic sonar system tracking two balls

Author  Herbert Peremans

Video ID : 317

The Antwerp biomimetic bat-head sonar system consists of a single emitter and two receivers. The receivers are constructed by inserting a small omnidirectional microphone in the ear canal of a plastic replica of the outer ear of the bat Phyllostomus discolor. Using the head-related transfer (HRTF) cues, the system is able to localize multiple reflectors in three dimensions based on a single emission. This video demonstrates the tracking of two balls serving as targets.

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.

Tactile localization of a power drill

Author  Kaijen Hsiao

Video ID : 77

This video shows a Barrett WAM arm tactilely localizing and reorienting a power drill under high positional uncertainty. The goal is for the robot to robustly grasp the power drill such that the trigger can be activated. The robot tracks the distribution of possible object poses on the table over a 3-D grid (the belief space). It then selects between information-gathering, reorienting, and goal-seeking actions by modeling the problem as a POMDP (partially observable Markov decision process) and using receding-horizon, forward search through the belief space. In the video, the inset window with the simulated robot is a visualization of the current belief state. The red spheres sit at the vertices of the object mesh placed at the most likely state, and the dark-blue box also shows the location of the most likely state. The purple box shows the location of the mean of the belief state, and the light-blue boxes show the variance of the belief state in the form of the locations of various states that are one standard deviation away from the mean in each of the three dimensions of uncertainty (x, y, and theta). The magenta spheres and arrows that appear when the robot touches the object show the contact locations and normals as reported by the sensors, and the cyan spheres that largely overlap the hand show where the robot controllers are trying to move the hand.

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.

Mobile robot control in off-road conditions and under high dynamics

Author  Roland Lenain

Video ID : 435

This video illustrates the motion-control strategy detailed in Chap. 49, Springer Handbook of Robotics, 2nd edn (2016), when the ideal rolling-without-sliding conditions are not met. In the two segments, the robot follows a previously recorded trajectory, using RTK GPS. The first segment illustrates the capabilities on uneven ground at low speed, while the second shows results at high speed. Accuracy within a few centimeters is obtained thanks to adaptive and predictive approaches, whereas accuracy close to 1 m in the first case and 5 m for the second case are observed using the rolling-without-sliding assumption.

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.

Mini-Whegs™

Author  Jeremy M. Morrey, Bram Lambrecht, Andrew D. Horchler, Roy E. Ritzmann, Roger D. Quinn

Video ID : 401

The video describes a new biologically inspired robot series called Mini-Whegs™. These 8-9 cm long robots can run at sustained speeds of over 10 body lengths per second and navigate in challenging terrain.

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.

Flexible robot gripper for KUKA Light Weight Robot (LWR): Collaboration between human and robot

Author  Robotiq

Video ID : 632

Flexible robot gripper on KUKA Light Weight Robot engaged in a proximal human-robot collaboration. The human-safe robot combined with a agile robot gripper demonstrates collaborative part feeding and part holding in assembly tasks.

Chapter 64 — Rehabilitation and Health Care Robotics

H.F. Machiel Van der Loos, David J. Reinkensmeyer and Eugenio Guglielmelli

The field of rehabilitation robotics considers robotic systems that 1) provide therapy for persons seeking to recover their physical, social, communication, or cognitive function, and/or that 2) assist persons who have a chronic disability to accomplish activities of daily living. This chapter will discuss these two main domains and provide descriptions of the major achievements of the field over its short history and chart out the challenges to come. Specifically, after providing background information on demographics (Sect. 64.1.2) and history (Sect. 64.1.3) of the field, Sect. 64.2 describes physical therapy and exercise training robots, and Sect. 64.3 describes robotic aids for people with disabilities. Section 64.4 then presents recent advances in smart prostheses and orthoses that are related to rehabilitation robotics. Finally, Sect. 64.5 provides an overview of recent work in diagnosis and monitoring for rehabilitation as well as other health-care issues. The reader is referred to Chap. 73 for cognitive rehabilitation robotics and to Chap. 65 for robotic smart home technologies, which are often considered assistive technologies for persons with disabilities. At the conclusion of the present chapter, the reader will be familiar with the history of rehabilitation robotics and its primary accomplishments, and will understand the challenges the field may face in the future as it seeks to improve health care and the well being of persons with disabilities.

ARMin plus HandSOME robotic therapy system

Author  Peter Lum

Video ID : 497

The ARMin exoskeleton is combined with the HandSOME orthosis to enable practice of pick and place tasks with real objects. The ARMin is controlled by a joint-based guidance algorithm which enforces normal coordination between shoulder and elbow joints.