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Chapter 53 — Multiple Mobile Robot Systems

Lynne E. Parker, Daniela Rus and Gaurav S. Sukhatme

Within the context of multiple mobile, and networked robot systems, this chapter explores the current state of the art. After a brief introduction, we first examine architectures for multirobot cooperation, exploring the alternative approaches that have been developed. Next, we explore communications issues and their impact on multirobot teams in Sect. 53.3, followed by a discussion of networked mobile robots in Sect. 53.4. Following this we discuss swarm robot systems in Sect. 53.5 and modular robot systems in Sect. 53.6. While swarm and modular systems typically assume large numbers of homogeneous robots, other types of multirobot systems include heterogeneous robots. We therefore next discuss heterogeneity in cooperative robot teams in Sect. 53.7. Once robot teams allow for individual heterogeneity, issues of task allocation become important; Sect. 53.8 therefore discusses common approaches to task allocation. Section 53.9 discusses the challenges of multirobot learning, and some representative approaches. We outline some of the typical application domains which serve as test beds for multirobot systems research in Sect. 53.10. Finally, we conclude in Sect. 53.11 with some summary remarks and suggestions for further reading.

Self-assembly and morphology control in a swarm-bot

Author  Rehan O'Grady, Andres Lyhne Christensen, Marco Dorigo

Video ID : 195

This video shows the capability of the swarm-bot mobile robot platform to self-assemble into a specific connected morphology. Each S-bot opens a connection slot by lighting its blue and green LEDs, which indicates the desired angle and the specific place for grasping by another S-bot. The video shows four different morphologies - star, line, arrow, and dense.

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.

Flight stability in aerial redundant manipulators

Author  Christopher Korpela, Matko Orsag, Todd Danko, Bryan Kobe, Clayton McNeil, Robert Pisch, Paul Oh

Video ID : 693

Aerial manipulation tests conducted by the Drexel Autonomous Systems Lab.

Chapter 64 — Rehabilitation and Health Care Robotics

H.F. Machiel Van der Loos, David J. Reinkensmeyer and Eugenio Guglielmelli

The field of rehabilitation robotics considers robotic systems that 1) provide therapy for persons seeking to recover their physical, social, communication, or cognitive function, and/or that 2) assist persons who have a chronic disability to accomplish activities of daily living. This chapter will discuss these two main domains and provide descriptions of the major achievements of the field over its short history and chart out the challenges to come. Specifically, after providing background information on demographics (Sect. 64.1.2) and history (Sect. 64.1.3) of the field, Sect. 64.2 describes physical therapy and exercise training robots, and Sect. 64.3 describes robotic aids for people with disabilities. Section 64.4 then presents recent advances in smart prostheses and orthoses that are related to rehabilitation robotics. Finally, Sect. 64.5 provides an overview of recent work in diagnosis and monitoring for rehabilitation as well as other health-care issues. The reader is referred to Chap. 73 for cognitive rehabilitation robotics and to Chap. 65 for robotic smart home technologies, which are often considered assistive technologies for persons with disabilities. At the conclusion of the present chapter, the reader will be familiar with the history of rehabilitation robotics and its primary accomplishments, and will understand the challenges the field may face in the future as it seeks to improve health care and the well being of persons with disabilities.


Author  Discover Channel/Michael Peshkin

Video ID : 505

The Kineassist is a gait-training robot which rolls behind a patient and compliantly supports the trunk and pelvis. It enables patients to challenge the limits of their stability, catching them if they fall.

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.

Human-robot teaming in a search-and-retrieve task

Author  Cynthia Breazeal

Video ID : 555

This video shows an example from a human participant study examining the role of nonverbal social signals on human-robot teamwork for a complex search-and-retrieve task. In a controlled experiment, we examined the role of backchanneling and task complexity on team functioning and perceptions of the robots’ engagement and competence. Seventy three participants interacted with autonomous humanoid robots as part of a human-robot team: One participant, one confederate (a remote operator controlling an aerial robot), and three robots (2 mobile humanoids and an aerial robot). We found that, when robots used backchanneling, team functioning improved and the robots were seen as more engaged.

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.

BLUE: A biped robot with variable stiffness and damping

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

Video ID : 466

The video includes clips of the robot walking, squatting while displaying various degrees of stiffness, and the stiffness adjustment mechanism.

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.

A perching mechanism for micro aerial vehicles

Author  Mirko Kovač, Jürg Germann, Christoph Hürzeler, Roland Y. Siegwart, Dario Floreano

Video ID : 416

This video shows a 4.6 g perching mechanism for micro aerial vehicles (MAVs) which enables them to perch on various vertical surfaces such as tree trunks and the external walls of concrete buildings. To achieve high impact force, needles snap forward and puncture as the trigger collides with the target's surface.

Chapter 74 — Learning from Humans

Aude G. Billard, Sylvain Calinon and Rüdiger Dillmann

This chapter surveys the main approaches developed to date to endow robots with the ability to learn from human guidance. The field is best known as robot programming by demonstration, robot learning from/by demonstration, apprenticeship learning and imitation learning. We start with a brief historical overview of the field. We then summarize the various approaches taken to solve four main questions: when, what, who and when to imitate. We emphasize the importance of choosing well the interface and the channels used to convey the demonstrations, with an eye on interfaces providing force control and force feedback. We then review algorithmic approaches to model skills individually and as a compound and algorithms that combine learning from human guidance with reinforcement learning. We close with a look on the use of language to guide teaching and a list of open issues.

Reproduction of dishwasher-unloading task based on task-precedence graph

Author  Michael Pardowitz, Raoul Zöllner, Steffen Knoop, Tamim Asfour, Kristian Regenstein, Pedram Azad, Joachim Schröder, Rüdiger Dillmann

Video ID : 103

ARMAR-III humanoid robot reproducing the task of unloading a dishwasher, based on a task precedence graph learned from demonstrations. References: 1) T. Asfour, K. Regenstein, P. Azad, J. Schroeder, R. Dillmann: ARMAR-III: A humanoid platform for perception-action integration, Int. Workshop Human-Centered Robotic Systems (HCRS)(2006); 2) M. Pardowitz, R. Zöllner, S. Knoop, R. Dillmann: Incremental learning of tasks from user demonstrations, past experiences and vocal comments, IEEE Trans. Syst. Man Cybernet. B37(2), 322–332 (2007); URL: .

Chapter 67 — Humanoids

Paul Fitzpatrick, Kensuke Harada, Charles C. Kemp, Yoshio Matsumoto, Kazuhito Yokoi and Eiichi Yoshida

Humanoid robots selectively immitate aspects of human form and behavior. Humanoids come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from complete human-size legged robots to isolated robotic heads with human-like sensing and expression. This chapter highlights significant humanoid platforms and achievements, and discusses some of the underlying goals behind this area of robotics. Humanoids tend to require the integration ofmany of the methods covered in detail within other chapters of this handbook, so this chapter focuses on distinctive aspects of humanoid robotics with liberal cross-referencing.

This chapter examines what motivates researchers to pursue humanoid robotics, and provides a taste of the evolution of this field over time. It summarizes work on legged humanoid locomotion, whole-body activities, and approaches to human–robot communication. It concludes with a brief discussion of factors that may influence the future of humanoid robots.

Whole-body "pivoting" manipulation

Author  Eiichi Yoshida

Video ID : 595

The humanoid robot performs "pivoting" manipulation to carry a bulky object without lifting. A coarse path of the object towards its goal position is first planned to compute the trajectory of the hands which perform the manipulation. Then foot positions are determined along the object path, from which the COM trajectory is derived using the dynamic walking-pattern generator. Those tasks are provided to the inverse kinematics to generate the coordinated arm and leg motion for this complex manipulation. The second video shows the motion planning combining pivoting manipulation and free walking motion in a more complex environment.