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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 12 — Robotic Systems Architectures and Programming

David Kortenkamp, Reid Simmons and Davide Brugali

Robot software systems tend to be complex. This complexity is due, in large part, to the need to control diverse sensors and actuators in real time, in the face of significant uncertainty and noise. Robot systems must work to achieve tasks while monitoring for, and reacting to, unexpected situations. Doing all this concurrently and asynchronously adds immensely to system complexity.

The use of a well-conceived architecture, together with programming tools that support the architecture, can often help to manage that complexity. Currently, there is no single architecture that is best for all applications – different architectures have different advantages and disadvantages. It is important to understand those strengths and weaknesses when choosing an architectural approach for a given application.

This chapter presents various approaches to architecting robotic systems. It starts by defining terms and setting the context, including a recounting of the historical developments in the area of robot architectures. The chapter then discusses in more depth the major types of architectural components in use today – behavioral control (Chap. 13), executives, and task planners (Chap. 14) – along with commonly used techniques for interconnecting connecting those components. Throughout, emphasis will be placed on programming tools and environments that support these architectures. A case study is then presented, followed by a brief discussion of further reading.

Software product line engineering for robotics

Author  Davide Brugali

Video ID : 273

The video illustrates the software product-line approach to the development of robot software control systems and the open source HyperFlex toolchain that supports it.

Chapter 17 — Limbed Systems

Shuuji Kajita and Christian Ott

A limbed system is a mobile robot with a body, legs and arms. First, its general design process is discussed in Sect. 17.1. Then we consider issues of conceptual design and observe designs of various existing robots in Sect. 17.2. As an example in detail, the design of a humanoid robot HRP-4C is shown in Sect. 17.3. To design a limbed system of good performance, it is important to take into account of actuation and control, like gravity compensation, limit cycle dynamics, template models, and backdrivable actuation. These are discussed in Sect. 17.4.

In Sect. 17.5, we overview divergence of limbed systems. We see odd legged walkers, leg–wheel hybrid robots, leg–arm hybrid robots, tethered walking robots, and wall-climbing robots. To compare limbed systems of different configurations,we can use performance indices such as the gait sensitivity norm, the Froude number, and the specific resistance, etc., which are introduced in Sect. 17.6.

Passive dynamic walking with knees

Author  Tad McGeer

Video ID : 527

Passive dynamic walker developed by Dr. McGeer.

Chapter 80 — Roboethics: Social and Ethical Implications

Gianmarco Veruggio, Fiorella Operto and George Bekey

This chapter outlines the main developments of roboethics 9 years after a worldwide debate on the subject – that is, the applied ethics about ethical, legal, and societal aspects of robotics – opened up. Today, roboethics not only counts several thousands of voices on the Web, but is the issue of important literature relating to almost all robotics applications, and of hundreds of rich projects, workshops, and conferences. This increasing interest and sometimes even fierce debate expresses the perception and need of scientists, manufacturers, and users of professional guidelines and ethical indications about robotics in society.

Some of the issues presented in the chapter are well known to engineers, and less known or unknown to scholars of humanities, and vice versa. However, because the subject is transversal to many disciplines, complex, articulated, and often misrepresented, some of the fundamental concepts relating to ethics in science and technology are recalled and clarified.

A detailed taxonomy of sensitive areas is presented. It is based on a study of several years and referred to by scientists and scholars, the result of which is the Euron Roboethics Roadmap. This taxonomy identifies themost evident/urgent/sensitive ethical problems in the main applicative fields of robotics, leaving more in-depth research to further studies.

Roboethics: Military robotics

Author  Fiorella Operto

Video ID : 775

Ethical, legal and societal issues in military robotics. The so-called field of military robotics comprises all the devices resulting from the development of the traditional systems by robotics technology: Integrated defense systems; and A.I. systems for intelligence and surveillance controlling weapons and aircraft capabilities. Unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs), or autonomous tanks: Armored vehicles carrying weapons and/or tactical payloads, intelligent bombs and missiles. UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles): also referred to as autonomous flying vehicles (AFVs) or drones, unmanned spy planes and remotely piloted bombers. ASV (autonomous surface vessels) and patrol boats. AUVs (autonomous underwater vehicles): Intelligent torpedoes and autonomous submarines. In this field, the main problems could arise from: inadequate management of the unstructured complexity of a hostile scenario; the unpredictability of machine behavior; the increased risk of starting a video-game-like war, due to the decreased perception of its deadly effects; unpredictable side-effects on civilian populations; human-in-control hierarchy and robot’s transparency; psychological issues of humans in robotized environments (mixed teams); accountability and responsibility gap; the assignment of liability for misbehaviors or crimes. Collateral damages: Despite the increasing success of this technology, military hierarchies feel concerned about the potential dangers. Drones can accidentally fall and possibly damage humans and objects. Daily news report about unintended injury or death of innocent non-combatants (usually known as “collateral damage”) from war theaters. Potential friendly-fire casualties in crowded battlefield or due to enemy’s tracking/hijacking.

Chapter 68 — Human Motion Reconstruction

Katsu Yamane and Wataru Takano

This chapter presents a set of techniques for reconstructing and understanding human motions measured using current motion capture technologies. We first review modeling and computation techniques for obtaining motion and force information from human motion data (Sect. 68.2). Here we show that kinematics and dynamics algorithms for articulated rigid bodies can be applied to human motion data processing, with help from models based on knowledge in anatomy and physiology. We then describe methods for analyzing human motions so that robots can segment and categorize different behaviors and use them as the basis for human motion understanding and communication (Sect. 68.3). These methods are based on statistical techniques widely used in linguistics. The two fields share the common goal of converting continuous and noisy signal to discrete symbols, and therefore it is natural to apply similar techniques. Finally, we introduce some application examples of human motion and models ranging from simulated human control to humanoid robot motion synthesis.

Human motion mapped to a humanoid robot

Author  Katsu Yamane

Video ID : 765

This video shows an example of a humanoid robot controlled using human motion. The robot is equipped with a tracking controller and a balance controller.

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.

Rest-to-rest motion for a flexible link

Author  Alessandro De Luca

Video ID : 779

This 2003 video shows a planar one-link flexible arm executing a desired rest-to-rest motion in a given finite time (90 deg in 2 s). Link deformations vanish completely at the desired final time. The applied control law is the combination of a model-based feedforward command designed for a smooth trajectory assigned to the flat output of the system and of a stabilizing PID feedback action on the joint angle around its associated trajectory. References: 1. A. De Luca, G. Di Giovanni: Rest-to-rest motion of a one-link flexible arm, Proc. IEEE/ASME Int. Conf. Adv. Intell. Mechatron., Como (2001), pp. 923-928; doi: 10.1109/AIM.2001.936793; 2. A. De Luca, V. Caiano, D. Del Vescovo: Experiments on rest-to-rest motion of a flexible arm, in B. Siciliano, P. Dario (Eds), Experimental Robotics VIII, Springer Tract. Adv. Robot. 5, 338-349 (2003); doi: 10.1007/3-540-36268-1_30

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.

Safety evaluation of lightweight robots

Author  Sami Haddadin

Video ID : 463

Inteview with Sami Haddadin on safety evaluation of lightweight robots (Discovery Channel interview "Daily Planet", January 9th, 2008)

Chapter 72 — Social Robotics

Cynthia Breazeal, Kerstin Dautenhahn and Takayuki Kanda

This chapter surveys some of the principal research trends in Social Robotics and its application to human–robot interaction (HRI). Social (or Sociable) robots are designed to interact with people in a natural, interpersonal manner – often to achieve positive outcomes in diverse applications such as education, health, quality of life, entertainment, communication, and tasks requiring collaborative teamwork. The long-term goal of creating social robots that are competent and capable partners for people is quite a challenging task. They will need to be able to communicate naturally with people using both verbal and nonverbal signals. They will need to engage us not only on a cognitive level, but on an emotional level as well in order to provide effective social and task-related support to people. They will need a wide range of socialcognitive skills and a theory of other minds to understand human behavior, and to be intuitively understood by people. A deep understanding of human intelligence and behavior across multiple dimensions (i. e., cognitive, affective, physical, social, etc.) is necessary in order to design robots that can successfully play a beneficial role in the daily lives of people. This requires a multidisciplinary approach where the design of social robot technologies and methodologies are informed by robotics, artificial intelligence, psychology, neuroscience, human factors, design, anthropology, and more.

Overview of Kismet's expressive behavior

Author  Cynthia Breazeal

Video ID : 557

This video presents an overview of Kismet's expressive behavior and rationale. The video presents how Kismet can express internal emotive/affective states through three modalities: facial expression, vocal affect, and body posture. The video also shows how Kismet can recognize aspects of affective intent in human speech (e.g., praising, scolding, soothing, and attentional bids). The video shows how human participants can interact in a natural and intuitive way with the robot, by reading and responding to its emotive and social cues.

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.

How would you choose the best robotic vacuum cleaner?

Author  Erwin Prassler

Video ID : 729

This video identifies some criteria that a consumer might use to decide on the purchase of a specific domestic cleaning robot.

Chapter 49 — Modeling and Control of Wheeled Mobile Robots

Claude Samson, Pascal Morin and Roland Lenain

This chaptermay be seen as a follow up to Chap. 24, devoted to the classification and modeling of basic wheeled mobile robot (WMR) structures, and a natural complement to Chap. 47, which surveys motion planning methods for WMRs. A typical output of these methods is a feasible (or admissible) reference state trajectory for a given mobile robot, and a question which then arises is how to make the physical mobile robot track this reference trajectory via the control of the actuators with which the vehicle is equipped. The object of the present chapter is to bring elements of the answer to this question based on simple and effective control strategies.

The chapter is organized as follows. Section 49.2 is devoted to the choice of controlmodels and the determination of modeling equations associated with the path-following control problem. In Sect. 49.3, the path following and trajectory stabilization problems are addressed in the simplest case when no requirement is made on the robot orientation (i. e., position control). In Sect. 49.4 the same problems are revisited for the control of both position and orientation. The previously mentionned sections consider an ideal robot satisfying the rolling-without-sliding assumption. In Sect. 49.5, we relax this assumption in order to take into account nonideal wheel-ground contact. This is especially important for field-robotics applications and the proposed results are validated through full scale experiments on natural terrain. Finally, a few complementary issues on the feedback control of mobile robots are briefly discussed in the concluding Sect. 49.6, with a list of commented references for further reading on WMRs motion control.

Tracking of an omnidirectional frame with a unicycle-like robot

Author  Guillaume Artus, Pascal Morin, Claude Samson

Video ID : 243

This video shows an experiment performed in 2005 with a unicyle-like robot. A video camera mounted at the top of a robotic arm enabled estimation of the 2-D pose (position/orientation) of the robot with respect to a visual target consisting of three white bars. These bars materialized an omnidirectional moving frame. The experiment demonstrated the capacity of the nonholonomic robot to track in both position and orientation this ominidirectional frame, based on the transverse function control approach.