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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.

Salamandra robotica II robot walking and swimming

Author  Alessandro Crespi, Konstantinos Karakasiliotis, Andre Guignard, Auke Jan Ijspeert

Video ID : 395

Salamandra robotica II walking and swimming outdoors and performing the transition from swimming to walking indoors. The transition between two different locomotions and the locomotions themselves is generated by central pattern generation (CPG) and simulation of a mesencephalic locomotor region (MLR). Video from the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne Biorobotics Lab.

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 59 — Robotics in Mining

Joshua A. Marshall, Adrian Bonchis, Eduardo Nebot and Steven Scheding

This chapter presents an overview of the state of the art in mining robotics, from surface to underground applications, and beyond. Mining is the practice of extracting resources for utilitarian purposes. Today, the international business of mining is a heavily mechanized industry that exploits the use of large diesel and electric equipment. These machines must operate in harsh, dynamic, and uncertain environments such as, for example, in the high arctic, in extreme desert climates, and in deep underground tunnel networks where it can be very hot and humid. Applications of robotics in mining are broad and include robotic dozing, excavation, and haulage, robotic mapping and surveying, as well as robotic drilling and explosives handling. This chapter describes how many of these applications involve unique technical challenges for field roboticists. However, there are compelling reasons to advance the discipline of mining robotics, which include not only a desire on the part of miners to improve productivity, safety, and lower costs, but also out of a need to meet product demands by accessing orebodies situated in increasingly challenging conditions.

Autonomous haulage system

Author  Steven Scheding

Video ID : 145

This video shows the Autonomous Haulage System (AHS) implemented as part of Rio Tinto's Mine-of-the-Future initiative in North-Western Australia.

Chapter 13 — Behavior-Based Systems

François Michaud and Monica Nicolescu

Nature is filled with examples of autonomous creatures capable of dealing with the diversity, unpredictability, and rapidly changing conditions of the real world. Such creatures must make decisions and take actions based on incomplete perception, time constraints, limited knowledge about the world, cognition, reasoning and physical capabilities, in uncontrolled conditions and with very limited cues about the intent of others. Consequently, one way of evaluating intelligence is based on the creature’s ability to make the most of what it has available to handle the complexities of the real world. The main objective of this chapter is to explain behavior-based systems and their use in autonomous control problems and applications. The chapter is organized as follows. Section 13.1 overviews robot control, introducing behavior-based systems in relation to other established approaches to robot control. Section 13.2 follows by outlining the basic principles of behavior-based systems that make them distinct from other types of robot control architectures. The concept of basis behaviors, the means of modularizing behavior-based systems, is presented in Sect. 13.3. Section 13.4 describes how behaviors are used as building blocks for creating representations for use by behavior-based systems, enabling the robot to reason about the world and about itself in that world. Section 13.5 presents several different classes of learning methods for behavior-based systems, validated on single-robot and multirobot systems. Section 13.6 provides an overview of various robotics problems and application domains that have successfully been addressed or are currently being studied with behavior-based control. Finally, Sect. 13.7 concludes the chapter.

Experience-based learning of high-level task representations: Reproduction (3)

Author  Monica Nicolescu

Video ID : 33

This is a video recorded in early 2000s, showing a Pioneer robot learning to traverse "gates" and move objects from a source place to a destination - the robot is reproducing the learned task. The robot training stage is also shown in a related video in this chapter. Reference: M. Nicolescu, M.J. Mataric: Learning and interacting in human-robot domains, IEEE Trans. Syst. Man Cybernet. A31(5), 419-430 (2001)

Chapter 11 — Robots with Flexible Elements

Alessandro De Luca and Wayne J. Book

Design issues, dynamic modeling, trajectory planning, and feedback control problems are presented for robot manipulators having components with mechanical flexibility, either concentrated at the joints or distributed along the links. The chapter is divided accordingly into two main parts. Similarities or differences between the two types of flexibility are pointed out wherever appropriate.

For robots with flexible joints, the dynamic model is derived in detail by following a Lagrangian approach and possible simplified versions are discussed. The problem of computing the nominal torques that produce a desired robot motion is then solved. Regulation and trajectory tracking tasks are addressed by means of linear and nonlinear feedback control designs.

For robots with flexible links, relevant factors that lead to the consideration of distributed flexibility are analyzed. Dynamic models are presented, based on the treatment of flexibility through lumped elements, transfer matrices, or assumed modes. Several specific issues are then highlighted, including the selection of sensors, the model order used for control design, and the generation of effective commands that reduce or eliminate residual vibrations in rest-to-rest maneuvers. Feedback control alternatives are finally discussed.

In each of the two parts of this chapter, a section is devoted to the illustration of the original references and to further readings on the subject.

PID response to impulse in presence of link flexibility

Author  Wayne Book

Video ID : 780

A laboratory gantry robot with a final flexible link is excited by an external impulse disturbance. The video shows the very low damping of the flexible link under PID joint control. This is one of two coordinated videos, the other showing the same experiment under state feedback control. Reference: B. Post: Robust State Estimation for the Control of Flexible Robotic Manipulators, Dissertation, School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta (2013)

Chapter 6 — Model Identification

John Hollerbach, Wisama Khalil and Maxime Gautier

This chapter discusses how to determine the kinematic parameters and the inertial parameters of robot manipulators. Both instances of model identification are cast into a common framework of least-squares parameter estimation, and are shown to have common numerical issues relating to the identifiability of parameters, adequacy of the measurement sets, and numerical robustness. These discussions are generic to any parameter estimation problem, and can be applied in other contexts.

For kinematic calibration, the main aim is to identify the geometric Denavit–Hartenberg (DH) parameters, although joint-based parameters relating to the sensing and transmission elements can also be identified. Endpoint sensing or endpoint constraints can provide equivalent calibration equations. By casting all calibration methods as closed-loop calibration, the calibration index categorizes methods in terms of how many equations per pose are generated.

Inertial parameters may be estimated through the execution of a trajectory while sensing one or more components of force/torque at a joint. Load estimation of a handheld object is simplest because of full mobility and full wrist force-torque sensing. For link inertial parameter estimation, restricted mobility of links nearer the base as well as sensing only the joint torque means that not all inertial parameters can be identified. Those that can be identified are those that affect joint torque, although they may appear in complicated linear combinations.

Calibration of ABB's IRB 120 industrial robot

Author  Ilian Bonev

Video ID : 422

The video depicts the process for the geometric calibration of the 6 DOF IRB 120. The calibration is based on the measurement of the position and the orientation of a tool using the laser tracking system from FARO. The video shows in sequence the steps in the acquisition of various configurations which can then be be employed using an algorithm similar to that of Sect. 6.2.

Chapter 45 — World Modeling

Wolfram Burgard, Martial Hebert and Maren Bennewitz

In this chapter we describe popular ways to represent the environment of a mobile robot. For indoor environments, which are often stored using two-dimensional representations, we discuss occupancy grids, line maps, topologicalmaps, and landmark-based representations. Each of these techniques has its own advantages and disadvantages. Whilst occupancy grid maps allow for quick access and can efficiently be updated, line maps are more compact. Also landmark-basedmaps can efficiently be updated and maintained, however, they do not readily support navigation tasks such as path planning like topological representations do.

Additionally, we discuss approaches suited for outdoor terrain modeling. In outdoor environments, the flat-surface assumption underling many mapping techniques for indoor environments is no longer valid. A very popular approach in this context are elevation and variants maps, which store the surface of the terrain over a regularly spaced grid. Alternatives to such maps are point clouds, meshes, or three-dimensional grids, which provide a greater flexibility but have higher storage demands.

Service-robot navigation in urban environments

Author  Christian Siagian

Video ID : 270

This video presents the navigation system of the Beobot service robot of the iLab, University of Southern California (USC). Beobot's task is to fulfill services in urban-like environments, especially those involving long-range travel. The robot uses a topological map for global localization based on acquired images.

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.

Remote-control heavy equipment used in debris removal at Fukushima reactor 3 (9/22/2012)

Author  James P. Trevelyan

Video ID : 578

A brief clip showing actual operation of a remote-control cutting equipment for dismantling the roof structure at one of the three ruined reactor buildings at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.

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.

Automatic plant probing

Author  Guillem Alenya, Babette Dellen, Sergi Foix, Carme Torras

Video ID : 95

This is a video showing the automatic probing of plant leaves (to measure chlorophyll) with a robotic arm, using a time-of-flight camera and a spadmeter, which are mounted on top. The first part shows plant probing during the final experiments of the EU project GARNICS, performed with a KUKA robot of the Forschungszentrum Juelich. The second part shows probing with a WAM arm at the Institut de Robotica i Informatica Industrial.

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.

Autonomous aerial-vehicle, carrier-landing contest (2001)

Author  KIPR

Video ID : 633

KIPR's first aerial robot contest featuring several middle and high schools from Oklahoma and neighboring states. It was held at the University of Oklahoma's Rawl Engineering Practice Facility. Teams used AR drones and KIPR's CBC2 controller to program the drone and have the drone react autonomously. No human control was used. Four very different approaches are shown to the event, in which the teams programmed their robots to totry land on a moving platform.