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Chapter 4 — Mechanism and Actuation

Victor Scheinman, J. Michael McCarthy and Jae-Bok Song

This chapter focuses on the principles that guide the design and construction of robotic systems. The kinematics equations and Jacobian of the robot characterize its range of motion and mechanical advantage, and guide the selection of its size and joint arrangement. The tasks a robot is to perform and the associated precision of its movement determine detailed features such as mechanical structure, transmission, and actuator selection. Here we discuss in detail both the mathematical tools and practical considerations that guide the design of mechanisms and actuation for a robot system.

The following sections (Sect. 4.1) discuss characteristics of the mechanisms and actuation that affect the performance of a robot. Sections 4.2–4.6 discuss the basic features of a robot manipulator and their relationship to the mathematical model that is used to characterize its performance. Sections 4.7 and 4.8 focus on the details of the structure and actuation of the robot and how they combine to yield various types of robots. The final Sect. 4.9 relates these design features to various performance metrics.

SCARA robots

Author  Adept Technology Inc

Video ID : 644

Fig. 4.20 The Adept robot uses closed-loop control and variable-reluctance motors.

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.

The Mobipulator

Author  Siddhartha Srinivasa et al.

Video ID : 367

The video shows a dual-differential drive robot that uses its wheels for both manipulation and locomotion. The front wheels move objects by vibrating asymmetrically while the rear wheels help to move the robot and the object around the environment.

Chapter 60 — Disaster Robotics

Robin R. Murphy, Satoshi Tadokoro and Alexander Kleiner

Rescue robots have been used in at least 28 disasters in six countries since the first deployment to the 9/11 World Trade Center collapse. All types of robots have been used (land, sea, and aerial) and for all phases of a disaster (prevention, response, and recovery). This chapter will cover the basic characteristics of disasters and their impact on robotic design, and describe the robots actually used in disasters to date, with a special focus on Fukushima Daiichi, which is providing a rich proving ground for robotics. The chapter covers promising robot designs (e.g., snakes, legged locomotion) and concepts (e.g., robot teams or swarms, sensor networks), as well as progress and open issues in autonomy. The methods of evaluation in benchmarks for rescue robotics are discussed and the chapter concludes with a discussion of the fundamental problems and open issues facing rescue robotics, and their evolution from an interesting idea to widespread adoption.

Assistive mapping during teleoperation

Author  Alexander Kleiner, Christian Dornhege, Andreas Ciossek

Video ID : 140

This video shows a commercial mapping system that has been developed by the University of Freiburg (A. Kleiner and C. Dornhege) and the telerob GmbH (A. Ciossek) in Germany. The video first shows the physical integration of the mapping system on the telemax bomb-disposal robot. Then, the real-time output of the mapping system superimposed on the video output of the robot's camera is shown.

Chapter 79 — Robotics for Education

David P. Miller and Illah Nourbakhsh

Educational robotics programs have become popular in most developed countries and are becoming more and more prevalent in the developing world as well. Robotics is used to teach problem solving, programming, design, physics, math and even music and art to students at all levels of their education. This chapter provides an overview of some of the major robotics programs along with the robot platforms and the programming environments commonly used. Like robot systems used in research, there is a constant development and upgrade of hardware and software – so this chapter provides a snapshot of the technologies being used at this time. The chapter concludes with a review of the assessment strategies that can be used to determine if a particular robotics program is benefitting students in the intended ways.

Robotics summer camps - PRIA

Author  Practical Robotics Institute Austria

Video ID : 636

This short video displays several of the activities available at PRIA's educational robotics summer camps in Europe. Details from: http://pria.at/en/ .

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 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 grasping

Author  Greg Chirikjian

Video ID : 162

Simulation of Greg Chirikjian's binary manipulator grasping a cylindrical object.

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.

Hammering task with the DLR Hand Arm System

Author  Markus Grebenstein, Alin Albu-Schäffer, Thomas Bahls, Maxime Chalon, Oliver Eiberger, Werner Friedl, Robin Gruber, Sami Haddadin, Ulrich Hagn, Robert Haslinger, Hannes Höppner, Stefan Jörg, Mathias Nickl, Alexander Nothhelfer, Florian Petit, Josef Rei

Video ID : 464

The DLR Hand Arm System uses a hammer to drive a nail into a wooden board. The passive flexibility in the variable stiffness actuators (VSA) helps to keep a stable grasp during the impact and protects the hardware from damage.

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.

A robot that flies like a bird

Author  Festo

Video ID : 696

Plenty of robots can fly -- but none can fly like a real bird. That is, until Markus Fischer and his team at Festo built SmartBird, a large, lightweight robot, modeled on a seagull, that flies by flapping its wings. Enjoy this soaring demo from TEDGlobal 2011.

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.

Multi-modal, multi-user telepresence and teleaction system

Author  M. Buss, A. Peer, T. Schauss, N. Stefanov, U. Unterhinninghofen, S. Behrendt, G. Farber, J. Leupold, K. Diepold, F. Keyrouz, M. Sarkis, P. Hinterseer, E. Steinbach, B. Farber, H. Pongrac

Video ID : 321

This video shows a multimodal, multiuser telepresence system, consisting of two teleoperated mobile manipulators, each connected to a stationary or a mobile, multimodal, human telerobotic interface. The multimodal-user feedback consists of 3-D vision, 3-D acoustic, and haptic feedback. A cooperative pipe-repair task was performed by the two teleoperated mobile manipulators. Presented at ICRA 2008.

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.

Winbot window-cleaning robot

Author  Erwin Prassler

Video ID : 736

Video features window--cleaning robot Winbot at CES 2015.