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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.

RoACH: a 2.4 gram, untethered, crawling hexapod robot

Author  Aaron M. Hoover, Erik Steltz, Ronald S. Fearing

Video ID : 286

The robotic autonomous crawling hexapod (RoACH) is made using lightweight composites with integrated flexural hinges. It is actuated by two shape-memory-alloy wires and controlled by a PIC microprocessor. It can communicate over IrDA and run untethered for more than nine minutes on a single charge.

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.

Intuitive control of a planar bipedal walking robot

Author  Jerry Pratt

Video ID : 529

The planar bipedal walking robot `Spring Flamingo' driven by series elastic actuators developed by Dr. Jerry Pratt and Prof. Gill Pratt.

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.

Quadrupteron robot

Author  Clément Gosselin

Video ID : 52

This video demonstrates a 4-DOF partially decoupled scara-type parallel robot (Quadrupteron). References: 1. P.L. Richard, C. Gosselin, X. Kong: Kinematic analysis and prototyping of a partially decoupled 4-DOF 3T1R parallel manipulator, ASME J. Mech. Des. 129(6), 611-616 (2007); 2. X. Kong, C. Gosselin: Forward displacement analysis of a quadratic 4-DOF 3T1R parallel manipulator: The Quadrupteron, Meccanica 46(1), 147-154 (2011); 3. C. Gosselin: Compact dynamic models for the tripteron and quadrupteron parallel manipulators, J. Syst. Control Eng. 223(I1), 1-11 (2009)

Chapter 56 — Robotics in Agriculture and Forestry

Marcel Bergerman, John Billingsley, John Reid and Eldert van Henten

Robotics for agriculture and forestry (A&F) represents the ultimate application of one of our society’s latest and most advanced innovations to its most ancient and important industries. Over the course of history, mechanization and automation increased crop output several orders of magnitude, enabling a geometric growth in population and an increase in quality of life across the globe. Rapid population growth and rising incomes in developing countries, however, require ever larger amounts of A&F output. This chapter addresses robotics for A&F in the form of case studies where robotics is being successfully applied to solve well-identified problems. With respect to plant crops, the focus is on the in-field or in-farm tasks necessary to guarantee a quality crop and, generally speaking, end at harvest time. In the livestock domain, the focus is on breeding and nurturing, exploiting, harvesting, and slaughtering and processing. The chapter is organized in four main sections. The first one explains the scope, in particular, what aspects of robotics for A&F are dealt with in the chapter. The second one discusses the challenges and opportunities associated with the application of robotics to A&F. The third section is the core of the chapter, presenting twenty case studies that showcase (mostly) mature applications of robotics in various agricultural and forestry domains. The case studies are not meant to be comprehensive but instead to give the reader a general overview of how robotics has been applied to A&F in the last 10 years. The fourth section concludes the chapter with a discussion on specific improvements to current technology and paths to commercialization.

Autonomous orchard tractors

Author  John Reid

Video ID : 26

Mowing and spraying are two common tasks in orchard environments that require the use of tractors. These tasks take significant time and resources and spraying, in particular, can be dangerous for the operators, all of which suggest benefits from their automation. This video shows two John Deere tractors driving autonomously in an orange orchard. The first tractor is performing a spraying task, using the perception sensors for obstacle detection and to control the amount of spray applied to the trees, such that each tree receives only the minimum amount of chemicals necessary for its size. The second tractor is performing a mowing task, keeping the grass short to improve access to the orchard and reduce competition for resouces with the trees.

Chapter 51 — Modeling and Control of Underwater Robots

Gianluca Antonelli, Thor I. Fossen and Dana R. Yoerger

This chapter deals with modeling and control of underwater robots. First, a brief introduction showing the constantly expanding role of marine robotics in oceanic engineering is given; this section also contains some historical backgrounds. Most of the following sections strongly overlap with the corresponding chapters presented in this handbook; hence, to avoid useless repetitions, only those aspects peculiar to the underwater environment are discussed, assuming that the reader is already familiar with concepts such as fault detection systems when discussing the corresponding underwater implementation. Themodeling section is presented by focusing on a coefficient-based approach capturing the most relevant underwater dynamic effects. Two sections dealing with the description of the sensor and the actuating systems are then given. Autonomous underwater vehicles require the implementation of mission control system as well as guidance and control algorithms. Underwater localization is also discussed. Underwater manipulation is then briefly approached. Fault detection and fault tolerance, together with the coordination control of multiple underwater vehicles, conclude the theoretical part of the chapter. Two final sections, reporting some successful applications and discussing future perspectives, conclude the chapter. The reader is referred to Chap. 25 for the design issues.

Saturation-based, nonlinear, depth-and-yaw control of an underwater vehicle

Author  Eduardo Campos-Mercado, Ahmed Chemori, Vincent Creuze, Jorge Torres-Munoz, Rogelio Lozano

Video ID : 268

This video demonstrates the robustness of a saturation-based, nonlinear controller for underwater vehicles. The performance of yaw and depth control of the L2ROV prototype is maintained, even when the buoyancy and the damping are changed. This work has been conducted by the LIRMM (University Montpellier 2, France) and the LAFMIA (CINVESTAV Mexico), in collaboration with Tecnalia France Foundation. This work has been supported by the French-Mexican PCP program and by the Region Languedoc-Roussillon.

Chapter 74 — Learning from Humans

Aude G. Billard, Sylvain Calinon and Rüdiger Dillmann

This chapter surveys the main approaches developed to date to endow robots with the ability to learn from human guidance. The field is best known as robot programming by demonstration, robot learning from/by demonstration, apprenticeship learning and imitation learning. We start with a brief historical overview of the field. We then summarize the various approaches taken to solve four main questions: when, what, who and when to imitate. We emphasize the importance of choosing well the interface and the channels used to convey the demonstrations, with an eye on interfaces providing force control and force feedback. We then review algorithmic approaches to model skills individually and as a compound and algorithms that combine learning from human guidance with reinforcement learning. We close with a look on the use of language to guide teaching and a list of open issues.

Probabilistic encoding of motion in a subspace of reduced dimensionality

Author  Keith Grochow, Steven Martin, Aaron Hertzmann, Zoran Popovic

Video ID : 102

Probabilistic encoding of motion in a subspace of reduced dimensionality. Reference: K. Grochow, S. L. Martin, A. Hertzmann, Z. Popovic: Style-based inverse kinematics, Proc. ACM Int. Conf. Comput. Graphics Interact. Tech. (SIGGRAPH), 522–531 (2004); URL: .

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.

Resilent machines through continuous self-modeling

Author  Josh Bongard, Victor Zykov, Hod Lipson

Video ID : 114

This video demonstrates a typical experiment with a resilent machine.

Chapter 65 — Domestic Robotics

Erwin Prassler, Mario E. Munich, Paolo Pirjanian and Kazuhiro Kosuge

When the first edition of this book was published domestic robots were spoken of as a dream that was slowly becoming reality. At that time, in 2008, we looked back on more than twenty years of research and development in domestic robotics, especially in cleaning robotics. Although everybody expected cleaning to be the killer app for domestic robotics in the first half of these twenty years nothing big really happened. About ten years before the first edition of this book appeared, all of a sudden things started moving. Several small, but also some larger enterprises announced that they would soon launch domestic cleaning robots. The robotics community was anxiously awaiting these first cleaning robots and so were consumers. The big burst, however, was yet to come. The price tag of those cleaning robots was far beyond what people were willing to pay for a vacuum cleaner. It took another four years until, in 2002, a small and inexpensive device, which was not even called a cleaning robot, brought the first breakthrough: Roomba. Sales of the Roomba quickly passed the first million robots and increased rapidly. While for the first years after Roomba’s release, the big players remained on the sidelines, possibly to revise their own designs and, in particular their business models and price tags, some other small players followed quickly and came out with their own products. We reported about theses devices and their creators in the first edition. Since then the momentum in the field of domestics robotics has steadily increased. Nowadays most big appliance manufacturers have domestic cleaning robots in their portfolio. We are not only seeing more and more domestic cleaning robots and lawn mowers on the market, but we are also seeing new types of domestic robots, window cleaners, plant watering robots, tele-presence robots, domestic surveillance robots, and robotic sports devices. Some of these new types of domestic robots are still prototypes or concept studies. Others have already crossed the threshold to becoming commercial products.

For the second edition of this chapter, we have decided to not only enumerate the devices that have emerged and survived in the past five years, but also to take a look back at how it all began, contrasting this retrospection with the burst of progress in the past five years in domestic cleaning robotics. We will not describe and discuss in detail every single cleaning robot that has seen the light of the day, but select those that are representative for the evolution of the technology as well as the market. We will also reserve some space for new types of mobile domestic robots, which will be the success stories or failures for the next edition of this chapter. Further we will look into nonmobile domestic robots, also called smart appliances, and examine their fate. Last but not least, we will look at the recent developments in the area of intelligent homes that surround and, at times, also control the mobile domestic robots and smart appliances described in the preceding sections.

Telepresence robot in action

Author  Erwin Prassler

Video ID : 741

Video by MIT Technology Review featuring the telepresence robot VGo.

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.

Pose graph compression for laser-based SLAM 2

Author  Cyrill Stachniss

Video ID : 450

This video illustrates pose graph compression, a technique for achieving long-term SLAM, as discussed in Chap. 46.5, Springer Handbook of Robotics, 2nd edn (2016). Reference: H. Kretzschmar, C. Stachniss: Information-theoretic compression of pose graphs for laser-based SLAM. Reference: Int. J. Robot. Res. 31(11), 1219-1230 (2012).

Chapter 43 — Telerobotics

Günter Niemeyer, Carsten Preusche, Stefano Stramigioli and Dongjun Lee

In this chapter we present an overview of the field of telerobotics with a focus on control aspects. To acknowledge some of the earliest contributions and motivations the field has provided to robotics in general, we begin with a brief historical perspective and discuss some of the challenging applications. Then, after introducing and classifying the various system architectures and control strategies, we emphasize bilateral control and force feedback. This particular area has seen intense research work in the pursuit of telepresence. We also examine some of the emerging efforts, extending telerobotic concepts to unconventional systems and applications. Finally,we suggest some further reading for a closer engagement with the field.

Semi-autonomous teleoperation of multiple UAVs: Tumbling over an obstacle

Author  Antonio Franchi, Paolo Robuffo Giordano

Video ID : 72

This video shows the bilateral teleoperation of a group of four quadrotor UAVs navigating in a cluttered environment. The human operator provides velocity-level motion commands and receives force-feedback information on the UAV interaction with the environment (e.g., presence of obstacles and external disturbances).