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Chapter 40 — Mobility and Manipulation

Oliver Brock, Jaeheung Park and Marc Toussaint

Mobile manipulation requires the integration of methodologies from all aspects of robotics. Instead of tackling each aspect in isolation,mobilemanipulation research exploits their interdependence to solve challenging problems. As a result, novel views of long-standing problems emerge. In this chapter, we present these emerging views in the areas of grasping, control, motion generation, learning, and perception. All of these areas must address the shared challenges of high-dimensionality, uncertainty, and task variability. The section on grasping and manipulation describes a trend towards actively leveraging contact and physical and dynamic interactions between hand, object, and environment. Research in control addresses the challenges of appropriately coupling mobility and manipulation. The field of motion generation increasingly blurs the boundaries between control and planning, leading to task-consistent motion in high-dimensional configuration spaces, even in dynamic and partially unknown environments. A key challenge of learning formobilemanipulation consists of identifying the appropriate priors, and we survey recent learning approaches to perception, grasping, motion, and manipulation. Finally, a discussion of promising methods in perception shows how concepts and methods from navigation and active perception are applied.

Handle localization and grasping

Author  Robert Platt

Video ID : 652

The robot localizes and grasps appropriate handles on novel objects in real time.

Chapter 32 — 3-D Vision for Navigation and Grasping

Danica Kragic and Kostas Daniilidis

In this chapter, we describe algorithms for three-dimensional (3-D) vision that help robots accomplish navigation and grasping. To model cameras, we start with the basics of perspective projection and distortion due to lenses. This projection from a 3-D world to a two-dimensional (2-D) image can be inverted only by using information from the world or multiple 2-D views. If we know the 3-D model of an object or the location of 3-D landmarks, we can solve the pose estimation problem from one view. When two views are available, we can compute the 3-D motion and triangulate to reconstruct the world up to a scale factor. When multiple views are given either as sparse viewpoints or a continuous incoming video, then the robot path can be computer and point tracks can yield a sparse 3-D representation of the world. In order to grasp objects, we can estimate 3-D pose of the end effector or 3-D coordinates of the graspable points on the object.

Finding paths through the world's photos

Author  Noah Snavely, Rahul Garg, Steven M. Seitz, Richard Szeliski

Video ID : 121

When a scene is photographed many times by different people, the viewpoints often cluster along certain paths. These paths are largely specific to the scene being photographed and follow interesting patterns and viewpoints. We seek to discover a range of such paths and turn them into controls for image-based rendering. Our approach takes as input a large set of community or personal photos, reconstructs camera viewpoints, and automatically computes orbits, panoramas, canonical views, and optimal paths between views. The scene can then be interactively browsed in 3-D using these controls or with six DOF free-viewpoint control. As the user browses the scene, nearby views are continuously selected and transformed, using control-adaptive reprojection techniques.

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 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.

Radioactive material handling 1954

Author  James P. Trevelyan

Video ID : 587

This clip shows the use of a remotely-operated arm to protect a worker from nuclear radiation, taken from the 1954 film sponsored by General Electric, The Atom Goes to Sea 1954. The scene is at the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory in Schenectady, New York. The entire film is available from the Internet Archive.

Chapter 61 — Robot Surveillance and Security

Wendell H. Chun and Nikolaos Papanikolopoulos

This chapter introduces the foundation for surveillance and security robots for multiple military and civilian applications. The key environmental domains are mobile robots for ground, aerial, surface water, and underwater applications. Surveillance literallymeans to watch fromabove,while surveillance robots are used to monitor the behavior, activities, and other changing information that are gathered for the general purpose of managing, directing, or protecting one’s assets or position. In a practical sense, the term surveillance is taken to mean the act of observation from a distance, and security robots are commonly used to protect and safeguard a location, some valuable assets, or personal against danger, damage, loss, and crime. Surveillance is a proactive operation,while security robots are a defensive operation. The construction of each type of robot is similar in nature with amobility component, sensor payload, communication system, and an operator control station.

After introducing the major robot components, this chapter focuses on the various applications. More specifically, Sect. 61.3 discusses the enabling technologies of mobile robot navigation, various payload sensors used for surveillance or security applications, target detection and tracking algorithms, and the operator’s robot control console for human–machine interface (HMI). Section 61.4 presents selected research activities relevant to surveillance and security, including automatic data processing of the payload sensors, automaticmonitoring of human activities, facial recognition, and collaborative automatic target recognition (ATR). Finally, Sect. 61.5 discusses future directions in robot surveillance and security, giving some conclusions and followed by references.

People detection from a UAV

Author  Hisham Sager, William Hoff

Video ID : 678

For pedestrian detection in outdoor surveillance scenarios, the size of pedestrians in the images are often very small (around 20 pixels tall). The most common and successful approaches for single-frame pedestrian detection use gradient-based features and a support vector machine classifier. Colorado School of Mines has developed a new algorithm that extracts gradient features from a spatio-temporal volume, consisting of a short sequence of images (about one second in duration). The additional information provided by the motion of the person compensates for the loss of resolution.

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.

Throwing a ball with the DLR VS-Joint

Author  Sebastian Wolf, Gerd Hirzinger

Video ID : 549

The video shows the difference between a stiff and a flexible actuator in a 1-DOF throwing demonstration. The variable stiffness actuator (VS-joint) can store potential energy in a strike out movement and release it by accelerating the lever and ball. Additional energy is transferred to the lever by stiffening up during the forward motion.

Chapter 80 — Roboethics: Social and Ethical Implications

Gianmarco Veruggio, Fiorella Operto and George Bekey

This chapter outlines the main developments of roboethics 9 years after a worldwide debate on the subject – that is, the applied ethics about ethical, legal, and societal aspects of robotics – opened up. Today, roboethics not only counts several thousands of voices on the Web, but is the issue of important literature relating to almost all robotics applications, and of hundreds of rich projects, workshops, and conferences. This increasing interest and sometimes even fierce debate expresses the perception and need of scientists, manufacturers, and users of professional guidelines and ethical indications about robotics in society.

Some of the issues presented in the chapter are well known to engineers, and less known or unknown to scholars of humanities, and vice versa. However, because the subject is transversal to many disciplines, complex, articulated, and often misrepresented, some of the fundamental concepts relating to ethics in science and technology are recalled and clarified.

A detailed taxonomy of sensitive areas is presented. It is based on a study of several years and referred to by scientists and scholars, the result of which is the Euron Roboethics Roadmap. This taxonomy identifies themost evident/urgent/sensitive ethical problems in the main applicative fields of robotics, leaving more in-depth research to further studies.

Roboethics: Prosthesis

Author  Fiorella Operto

Video ID : 774

Ethical, legal and societal issues in medical robotics. Bionic implants and prosthetics can be used to restore human capabilities and functions. Applications range from human prostheses for locomotion, manipulation, vision, sensing, and other functions: Artificial limbs (legs and arms; artificial internal organs (heart, kidney); artificial senses (eyes, ears...); human augmentation (exoskeletons). This field has an important connection with neuroscience to develop neural interfaces and sensory-motor coordination systems for the integration of these bionic devices with the human body/brain. The very distinction between restoring and enhancing is problematic in some cases insofar as interventions on the human body may have a variety of possibly unpredictable side-effects. Social and economic discrimination towards human beings may arise as a consequence of the enhanced physical and mental properties of super-human cyborgs.

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.

Swarm robot system

Author  James McLurkin

Video ID : 215

This video captures the interactions in a robot system developed at MIT, illustrating several swarm behaviors. These behaviors include dispersing, clumping, and following-the-leader.

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 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.

Flytrap-inspired bi-stable gripper

Author  Seung-Won Kim, Kyu-Jin Cho

Video ID : 410

By using carbon-fiber, reinforced prepreg (CFRP) laminate as a leaf-and-shape memory alloy (SMA) spring actuator, we developed a novel bio-inspired flytrap robot.