View Chapter

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.

Pop-up fabrication of the Harvard Monolithic Bee (Mobee)

Author  Robert J. Wood

Video ID : 398

The Harvard Monolithic Bee is a millimeter-scale flapping winged robotic insect produced using printed-circuit MEMS (PC-MEMS) techniques. This video describes the manufacturing process, including pop-up book inspired assembly. This work was funded by the NSF, the Wyss Institute, and the ASEE. Music: D-Song by Bonobo.

Chapter 19 — Robot Hands

Claudio Melchiorri and Makoto Kaneko

Multifingered robot hands have a potential capability for achieving dexterous manipulation of objects by using rolling and sliding motions. This chapter addresses design, actuation, sensing and control of multifingered robot hands. From the design viewpoint, they have a strong constraint in actuator implementation due to the space limitation in each joint. After briefly introducing the overview of anthropomorphic end-effector and its dexterity in Sect. 19.1, various approaches for actuation are provided with their advantages and disadvantages in Sect. 19.2. The key classification is (1) remote actuation or build-in actuation and (2) the relationship between the number of joints and the number of actuator. In Sect. 19.3, actuators and sensors used for multifingered hands are described. In Sect. 19.4, modeling and control are introduced by considering both dynamic effects and friction. Applications and trends are given in Sect. 19.5. Finally, this chapter is closed with conclusions and further reading.

The Shadow Hand

Author  Shadow Robot Company

Video ID : 753

The Shadow Hand is a popular and well-known commercial, anthropomorphic robot hand.

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.

A square peg-in-hole demonstration using manipulation skills

Author  Unknown

Video ID : 362

This video shows a square peg-in-hole demonstration using manipulation skills which refer to a set of motion primitives derived from the analysis of assembly tasks. This video demonstrated three manipulation skills: move-to-touch skill, rotate-to-level skill, and rotate-to-insert skill, which are executed to insert a square peg into a hole.

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 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.

Controversial comments

Author  James P. Trevelyan

Video ID : 585

In this video from RT, the Russia-sponsored, English- language, news channel, Kevin Kamps from Beyond Nuclear claims that radiation levels at Fukushima are "too high" even for robots, which is only partly true. He goes on to claim that "countless thousands of emergency workers died from radiation exposure", claims which are contradicted by a large WHO study published in 2005. Unfortunately, there are many videos with doubtful claims, and one needs to be careful in searching for evidence. This video has been included in the collection to remind researchers to be cautious when evaluating evidence available from public-domain, video sources.

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 omnidirectional mobile robot with active caster wheels

Author  Woojin Chung

Video ID : 325

This video shows a holonomic omnidirectional mobile robot with two active and two passive caster wheels. Each active caster is composed of two actuators. The first actuator drives a wheel; the second actuator steers the wheel orientation. Although the mechanical structure of the driving mechanisms becomes a little complicated, conventional tires can be used for omnidirectional motions. Since the robot is overactuated, four actuators should be carefully controlled.

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 7 — Motion Planning

Lydia E. Kavraki and Steven M. LaValle

This chapter first provides a formulation of the geometric path planning problem in Sect. 7.2 and then introduces sampling-based planning in Sect. 7.3. Sampling-based planners are general techniques applicable to a wide set of problems and have been successful in dealing with hard planning instances. For specific, often simpler, planning instances, alternative approaches exist and are presented in Sect. 7.4. These approaches provide theoretical guarantees and for simple planning instances they outperform samplingbased planners. Section 7.5 considers problems that involve differential constraints, while Sect. 7.6 overviews several other extensions of the basic problem formulation and proposed solutions. Finally, Sect. 7.8 addresses some important andmore advanced topics related to motion planning.

Alpha puzzle

Author  Mark Moll

Video ID : 23

The alpha puzzle problem is a common benchmark scenario for motion planning. The puzzle consists of two intertwined twisted tubes. The objective is to separate the tubes, where one tube is considered a stationary obstacle and the other tube is the moving object (robot). Solving the problem is challenging because it contains a narrow passage in the configuration space. This plan was generated by a sampling-based motion planner implemented in the Open Motion Planning Library (OMPL).

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.

Mesoscale manipulation: System, modeling, planning and control

Author  David J. Cappelleri et al.

Video ID : 359

This video shows an example of peg-in-hole manipulation on the mesoscale. Three robust motion primitives are introduced, i.e., one-point sticking contact with counterclockwise rotation, two-point contact motion without rotation, and robust rotation. These motion primitives are sequentially executed to accomplish the peg-in-hole manipulation task.

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.

Coevolved predator and prey robots

Author  Dario Floreano

Video ID : 38

Coevolved predator and prey robots engaged in a tournament. The predator and prey robot (from left to right) are placed in an arena surrounded by walls and are allowed to interact for several trials starting at different, randomly-generated orientations. Predators are selected on the basis of the percentage of trials in which they are able to catch (i.e., to touch) the prey, and prey on the basis of the percentage of trials in which they were able to escape (i.e., to not be touched by) predators. Predators have a vision system, whereas the prey have only short-range distance sensors, but can go twice as fast as the predator. Collision between robots is detected by a conductive belt at the base of the robots.