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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.

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.

Inverse dynamics control for a flexible link

Author  Wayne Book

Video ID : 778

A single flexible link with rotation at its base is controlled by computing the stable inverse dynamics of the flexible system associated with the desired trajectory for the end-effector. This feedforward command is made more robust by the addition of a suitable PD feedback control at the joint. Because of the non-minimum phase nature of the tip output, the resulting input command is non-causal, starting ahead of the actual output trajectory (pre-shaping the link) and ending after (discharging the link). Comparison is made with a PD joint control using a step reference input and with a full state feedback (utilizing strain gauge signals and their rates) and a nominal trajectory command. The inverse dynamics control demonstrates superiority both in terms of overshoot and residual vibrations. References: 1. D.-S. Kwon: An Inverse Dynamic Tracking Control for a Bracing Flexible Manipulator, Dissertation, School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, (1991); 2. D.-S. Kwon, W.J. Book: A time-domain inverse dynamic tracking control of a single-link flexible manipulator, ASME J. Dyn. Syst. Meas. Control 116, 193-200 (1994); doi: 10.1115/1.2899210

Chapter 61 — Robot Surveillance and Security

Wendell H. Chun and Nikolaos Papanikolopoulos

This chapter introduces the foundation for surveillance and security robots for multiple military and civilian applications. The key environmental domains are mobile robots for ground, aerial, surface water, and underwater applications. Surveillance literallymeans to watch fromabove,while surveillance robots are used to monitor the behavior, activities, and other changing information that are gathered for the general purpose of managing, directing, or protecting one’s assets or position. In a practical sense, the term surveillance is taken to mean the act of observation from a distance, and security robots are commonly used to protect and safeguard a location, some valuable assets, or personal against danger, damage, loss, and crime. Surveillance is a proactive operation,while security robots are a defensive operation. The construction of each type of robot is similar in nature with amobility component, sensor payload, communication system, and an operator control station.

After introducing the major robot components, this chapter focuses on the various applications. More specifically, Sect. 61.3 discusses the enabling technologies of mobile robot navigation, various payload sensors used for surveillance or security applications, target detection and tracking algorithms, and the operator’s robot control console for human–machine interface (HMI). Section 61.4 presents selected research activities relevant to surveillance and security, including automatic data processing of the payload sensors, automaticmonitoring of human activities, facial recognition, and collaborative automatic target recognition (ATR). Finally, Sect. 61.5 discusses future directions in robot surveillance and security, giving some conclusions and followed by references.

Tracking people for security

Author  Nikos Papanikolopoulos

Video ID : 683

Tracking of people in crowded scenes is challenging because people occlude each other as they walk around. The latest revision of the University of Minnesota's person tracker uses adaptive appearance models that explicitly account for the probability that a person may be partially occluded. All potentially occluding targets are tracked jointly, and the most likely visibility order is estimated (so we know the probability that person A is occluding person B). Target-size adaptation is performed using calibration information about the camera, and the reported target positions are made in real-world coordinates.

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.

Control pre-imaging for multifingered grasp synthesis

Author  Jefferson A. Coelho Jr. et al.

Video ID : 363

The video demonstrates sensory-motor control for multifingered manipulation. The first part of the video shows a top and a lateral grasp of rectangular blocks synthesized by the proposed controller. The second part shows dexterous manipulation tests, controlling stable multiple fingers to walk over the surface of an object while grasping the object.

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.

Human inspired tele-impedance and minimum-effort controller for improved manipulation Performance‬

Author  IIT Videos

Video ID : 815

Humans incorporate and switch between learnt neuro-motor strategies while performing complex tasks. To this purpose, kinematic redundancy is exploited in order to achieve optimized performance. Inspired by the superior motor skills of humans, in this work, we investigate a combined free-motion and contact-efficient controller in a certain class of robotic manipulation. In this multiple-criteria controller, kinematic degrees of redundancy are adapted according to task-suitable dynamic costs. The proposed algorithm attributes high priority to a minimum-effort controller while performing point-to-point, free-space movements. Once the robot comes into contact with the environment, the tele-impedance, common mode stiffness (CMS)-configuration dependent stiffness (CDS) controller will replicate the human's estimated endpoint stiffness and measured equilibrium-position profiles in the slave robotic arm, in real-time.

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.

Chapter 47 — Motion Planning and Obstacle Avoidance

Javier Minguez, Florant Lamiraux and Jean-Paul Laumond

This chapter describes motion planning and obstacle avoidance for mobile robots. We will see how the two areas do not share the same modeling background. From the very beginning of motion planning, research has been dominated by computer sciences. Researchers aim at devising well-grounded algorithms with well-understood completeness and exactness properties.

The challenge of this chapter is to present both nonholonomic motion planning (Sects. 47.1–47.6) and obstacle avoidance (Sects. 47.7–47.10) issues. Section 47.11 reviews recent successful approaches that tend to embrace the whole problemofmotion planning and motion control. These approaches benefit from both nonholonomic motion planning and obstacle avoidance methods.

Sena wheelchair: Autonomous navigation at University of Malaga (2007)

Author  Jose Luis Blanco

Video ID : 708

This experiment demonstrates how a reactive navigation method successfully enables our robotic wheelchair SENA to navigate reliably in the entrance of our building at the University of Malaga (Spain). The robot navigates autonomously amidst dozens of students while avoiding collisions. The method is based on a space transformation, which simplifies finding collision-free movements in real-time despite the arbitrarily complex shape of the robot and its kinematic restrictions.

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.

DelFly II in hover

Author  David Lentink

Video ID : 493

This video shows a DelFly flapping-winged vehicle flying in hover. The vehicle flaps at approximately 14 Hz. The video was filmed at high speed and slowed down. For more information please see D. Lentink, S.R. Jongerius, N.L. Bradshaw: Flying Insects and Robots (Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg 2009).

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.

Global Conference on Educational Robotics and International Botball Tournament

Author  KIPR

Video ID : 241

GCER is a STEM-oriented robotics conference, in which the majority of the attendees, paper authors, and presenters are K-12 robotics students. Educator-paper tracks and technology-research tracks also occur. GCER is also the site of the International Botball Tournament, KIPR Open, aerial robots contests, and elementary-school robotics challenges. Some of the recent guest speakers at the conference have included Dr. Maja Mataric (human-robot interactions), Dr. Vijay Kumar (coordinated flying robots), and Dr. Hiroshi Ishiguro (androids). Details from: .

Hampton Robotics Club

Author  cscsteam

Video ID : 239

A documentary which follows the very successful Hampton Robotics Club and their devotion to the popular activity Botball. Submitted to the 2014 i5 Film Competition by Hampton High School.