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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.

Field experiments with the OctArm continuum manipulator

Author  Ian Walker

Video ID : 157

Video overview of the OctArm continuum manipulator's applications and features.

Chapter 34 — Visual Servoing

François Chaumette, Seth Hutchinson and Peter Corke

This chapter introduces visual servo control, using computer vision data in the servo loop to control the motion of a robot. We first describe the basic techniques that are by now well established in the field. We give a general overview of the formulation of the visual servo control problem, and describe the two archetypal visual servo control schemes: image-based and pose-based visual servo control. We then discuss performance and stability issues that pertain to these two schemes, motivating advanced techniques. Of the many advanced techniques that have been developed, we discuss 2.5-D, hybrid, partitioned, and switched approaches. Having covered a variety of control schemes, we deal with target tracking and controlling motion directly in the joint space and extensions to under-actuated ground and aerial robots. We conclude by describing applications of visual servoing in robotics.

2.5-D VS on a 6-DOF robot arm (1)

Author  Francois Chaumette, Seth Hutchinson, Peter Corke

Video ID : 64

This video shows a 2.5-D VS on a 6-DOF robot arm with (x_g, log(Z_g), theta u) as visual features. It corresponds to the results depicted in Figure 34.12.

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.

Robotic insects make first controlled flight

Author  Robert J. Wood

Video ID : 697

First flight results of the RoboBee project.

Chapter 10 — Redundant Robots

Stefano Chiaverini, Giuseppe Oriolo and Anthony A. Maciejewski

This chapter focuses on redundancy resolution schemes, i. e., the techniques for exploiting the redundant degrees of freedom in the solution of the inverse kinematics problem. This is obviously an issue of major relevance for motion planning and control purposes.

In particular, task-oriented kinematics and the basic methods for its inversion at the velocity (first-order differential) level are first recalled, with a discussion of the main techniques for handling kinematic singularities. Next, different firstorder methods to solve kinematic redundancy are arranged in two main categories, namely those based on the optimization of suitable performance criteria and those relying on the augmentation of the task space. Redundancy resolution methods at the acceleration (second-order differential) level are then considered in order to take into account dynamics issues, e.g., torque minimization. Conditions under which a cyclic task motion results in a cyclic joint motion are also discussed; this is a major issue when a redundant manipulator is used to execute a repetitive task, e.g., in industrial applications. The use of kinematic redundancy for fault tolerance is analyzed in detail. Suggestions for further reading are given in a final section.

Configuration space control of KUKA Lightweight Robot LWR with EXARM Exoskeleton

Author  Telerobotics Lab

Video ID : 817

This video shows some advanced inverse kinematics mapping that enables the control of a redundant manipulator (KUKA LWR) by means of Cartesian location and geometric correspondence to the human arm. Thereby the null-space of the robot manipulator can be exploited to enable very intuitive operations. Joint limits and singularities are avoided, as well, by optimized mounting of the robot and the hand.

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.

iRobots inspecting interior of Fukushima powerplant

Author  James P. Trevelyan

Video ID : 580

A video timestamped April 17, 2011, with English commentary.

Nuclear manipulator, remote-handling equipment (1960)

Author  James P. Trevelyan

Video ID : 588

Demonstration video showing the pouring of a cup of tea – illustrates the dexterity of these popular manipulators which are ubiquitous in nuclear laboratories.

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.

Dynamic walking of whole-body compliant humanoid COMAN

Author  Chengxu Zhou, Xin Wang, Zhibin Li, Nikolaos Tsagarakis

Video ID : 465

COMAN performing dynamic walking.

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 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.

OctoMap visualization

Author  Maren Bennewitz, Wolfram Burgard, Armin Hornung, Cyrill Stachniss, Kai Wurm

Video ID : 79

This video shows the Freiburg Computer Science campus in a 3-D OctoMap. Note that free space is also encoded, although not shown in the video. The map covers an area of 292 x 167 x 28 m^3 and requires only 130 MB in memory at 20 cm resolution.

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.


Author  François Michaud

Video ID : 417

AAAI 2005 Robot Challenge entry from the Université de Sherbrooke, named Spartacus, using MBA (motivated behavioral architecture) to enable a robot to participate at the conference as a regular attendee. Reference: F. Michaud, C. Côté, D. Létourneau, Y. Brosseau, J.-M. Valin, É. Beaudry, C. Raïevsky, A. Ponchon, P. Moisan, P. Lepage, Y. Morin, F. Gagnon, P. Giguère, M.-A. Roux, S. Caron, P. Frenette, F. Kabanza: Spartacus attending the 2005 AAAI Conference, Auton. Robot. 12(2), 211–222 (2007)