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Chapter 40 — Mobility and Manipulation

Oliver Brock, Jaeheung Park and Marc Toussaint

Mobile manipulation requires the integration of methodologies from all aspects of robotics. Instead of tackling each aspect in isolation,mobilemanipulation research exploits their interdependence to solve challenging problems. As a result, novel views of long-standing problems emerge. In this chapter, we present these emerging views in the areas of grasping, control, motion generation, learning, and perception. All of these areas must address the shared challenges of high-dimensionality, uncertainty, and task variability. The section on grasping and manipulation describes a trend towards actively leveraging contact and physical and dynamic interactions between hand, object, and environment. Research in control addresses the challenges of appropriately coupling mobility and manipulation. The field of motion generation increasingly blurs the boundaries between control and planning, leading to task-consistent motion in high-dimensional configuration spaces, even in dynamic and partially unknown environments. A key challenge of learning formobilemanipulation consists of identifying the appropriate priors, and we survey recent learning approaches to perception, grasping, motion, and manipulation. Finally, a discussion of promising methods in perception shows how concepts and methods from navigation and active perception are applied.

Catching objects in flight

Author  Seungsu Kim, Ashwini Shukla, Aude Billard

Video ID : 653

We target the difficult problem of catching in-flight objects with uneven shapes. This requires the solution of three complex problems: predicting accurately the trajectory of fast-moving objects, predicting the feasible catching configuration, and planning the arm motion, all within milliseconds. We follow a programming-by-demonstration approach in order to learn models of the object and the arm dynamics from throwing examples. We propose a new methodology for finding a feasible catching configuration in a probabilistic manner. We leverage the strength of dynamical systems for encoding motion from several demonstrations. This enables fast and online adaptation of the arm motion in the presence of sensor uncertainty. We validate the approach in simulation with the iCub humanoid robot and in real-world experiment with the KUKA LWR 4+ (7-DOF arm robot) for catching a hammer, a tennis racket, an empty bottle, a partially filled bottle and a cardboard box.

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.

SpinybotII: Climbing hard walls with compliant microspines

Author  Sangbae Kim, Alan T. Asbeck, Mark R. Cutkosky, William R. Provancher

Video ID : 388

This climbing robot can scale flat, hard vertical surfaces including those made of concrete, brick, stucco and masonry without using suction or adhesives. It employs arrays of miniature spines that catch opportunistically on surface asperities. The approach is inspired by the mechanisms observed in some climbing insects and spiders.

Chapter 22 — Modular Robots

I-Ming Chen and Mark Yim

This chapter presents a discussion of modular robots from both an industrial and a research point of view. The chapter is divided into four sections, one focusing on existing reconfigurable modular manipulators typically in an industry setting (Sect. 22.2) and another focusing on self-reconfigurable modular robots typically in a research setting (Sect. 22.4). Both sections are sandwiched between the introduction and conclusion sections.

This chapter is focused on design issues. Rather than a survey of existing systems, it presents some of the existing systems in the context of a discussion of the issues and elements in industrial modular robotics and modular robotics research. The reader is encouraged to look at the references for further discussion on any of the presented topics.

ATRON robot showing robust and reversible execution of self-reconfiguration sequences

Author  Ulrik Pagh Schultz

Video ID : 5

ATRON robot showing robust and reversible execution of self-reconfiguration sequences.

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.

Promotional video of robot for cleaning up Fukushima

Author  James P. Trevelyan

Video ID : 583

Many companies have proposed new robots to help with the Fukushima reactor decommissioning process. This is one of many such promotional videos.

Chapter 18 — Parallel Mechanisms

Jean-Pierre Merlet, Clément Gosselin and Tian Huang

This chapter presents an introduction to the kinematics and dynamics of parallel mechanisms, also referred to as parallel robots. As opposed to classical serial manipulators, the kinematic architecture of parallel robots includes closed-loop kinematic chains. As a consequence, their analysis differs considerably from that of their serial counterparts. This chapter aims at presenting the fundamental formulations and techniques used in their analysis.

3-DOF high-speed 3-RPS parallel robot

Author  Tian Huang

Video ID : 43

This video demonstrates a 3-DOF high-speed 3-RPS parallel robot (with A3 head).

Chapter 19 — Robot Hands

Claudio Melchiorri and Makoto Kaneko

Multifingered robot hands have a potential capability for achieving dexterous manipulation of objects by using rolling and sliding motions. This chapter addresses design, actuation, sensing and control of multifingered robot hands. From the design viewpoint, they have a strong constraint in actuator implementation due to the space limitation in each joint. After briefly introducing the overview of anthropomorphic end-effector and its dexterity in Sect. 19.1, various approaches for actuation are provided with their advantages and disadvantages in Sect. 19.2. The key classification is (1) remote actuation or build-in actuation and (2) the relationship between the number of joints and the number of actuator. In Sect. 19.3, actuators and sensors used for multifingered hands are described. In Sect. 19.4, modeling and control are introduced by considering both dynamic effects and friction. Applications and trends are given in Sect. 19.5. Finally, this chapter is closed with conclusions and further reading.

The PISA-IIT SoftHand (1)

Author  IIT - Pisa University

Video ID : 749

The PISA-IIT SoftHand is a anthropomorphic device with a single actuator. The video shows the hand being controlled with EMG signals.

Chapter 50 — Modeling and Control of Robots on Rough Terrain

Keiji Nagatani, Genya Ishigami and Yoshito Okada

In this chapter, we introduce modeling and control for wheeled mobile robots and tracked vehicles. The target environment is rough terrains, which includes both deformable soil and heaps of rubble. Therefore, the topics are roughly divided into two categories, wheeled robots on deformable soil and tracked vehicles on heaps of rubble.

After providing an overview of this area in Sect. 50.1, a modeling method of wheeled robots on a deformable terrain is introduced in Sect. 50.2. It is based on terramechanics, which is the study focusing on the mechanical properties of natural rough terrain and its response to off-road vehicle, specifically the interaction between wheel/track and soil. In Sect. 50.3, the control of wheeled robots is introduced. A wheeled robot often experiences wheel slippage as well as its sideslip while traversing rough terrain. Therefore, the basic approach in this section is to compensate the slip via steering and driving maneuvers. In the case of navigation on heaps of rubble, tracked vehicles have much advantage. To improve traversability in such challenging environments, some tracked vehicles are equipped with subtracks, and one kinematical modeling method of tracked vehicle on rough terrain is introduced in Sect. 50.4. In addition, stability analysis of such vehicles is introduced in Sect. 50.5. Based on such kinematical model and stability analysis, a sensor-based control of tracked vehicle on rough terrain is introduced in Sect. 50.6. Sect. 50.7 summarizes this chapter.

Mobility prediction of rovers on soft terrain

Author  Daniel Holz, Ali Azimi, Marek Teichmann, Jozsef Kavecses

Video ID : 184

This video is an animated dynamic simulation of a vehicle traveling on sandy terrain. The simulator carefully considers mechanical interactions based on relationships between the wheel and the terrain and between the tool and the terrain. In particular, a discrete-element method is employed in order to represent the tool-sand interactions.

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.

Region-pointing gesture

Author  Takayuki Kanda

Video ID : 811

This short video explains what "region pointing" is. While it known that there are a variety of pointing gestures, in region pointing, unlike in other pointing gestures where the pointing arm is fixed, the arm moves as if it depicts a circle, which evokes the region it refers to.

Chapter 37 — Contact Modeling and Manipulation

Imin Kao, Kevin M. Lynch and Joel W. Burdick

Robotic manipulators use contact forces to grasp and manipulate objects in their environments. Fixtures rely on contacts to immobilize workpieces. Mobile robots and humanoids use wheels or feet to generate the contact forces that allow them to locomote. Modeling of the contact interface, therefore, is fundamental to analysis, design, planning, and control of many robotic tasks.

This chapter presents an overview of the modeling of contact interfaces, with a particular focus on their use in manipulation tasks, including graspless or nonprehensile manipulation modes such as pushing. Analysis and design of grasps and fixtures also depends on contact modeling, and these are discussed in more detail in Chap. 38. Sections 37.2–37.5 focus on rigid-body models of contact. Section 37.2 describes the kinematic constraints caused by contact, and Sect. 37.3 describes the contact forces that may arise with Coulomb friction. Section 37.4 provides examples of analysis of multicontact manipulation tasks with rigid bodies and Coulomb friction. Section 37.5 extends the analysis to manipulation by pushing. Section 37.6 introduces modeling of contact interfaces, kinematic duality, and pressure distribution and soft contact interface. Section 37.7 describes the concept of the friction limit surface and illustrates it with an example demonstrating the construction of a limit surface for a soft contact. Finally, Sect. 37.8 discusses how these more accurate models can be used in fixture analysis and design.

Pushing, sliding, and toppling

Author  Kevin Lynch

Video ID : 802

This video demonstrates sliding or toppling of a pushed object depending on the support friction coefficient, the object's center of mass location, and the pushing force, as illustrated in Figure 37.8.

Chapter 19 — Robot Hands

Claudio Melchiorri and Makoto Kaneko

Multifingered robot hands have a potential capability for achieving dexterous manipulation of objects by using rolling and sliding motions. This chapter addresses design, actuation, sensing and control of multifingered robot hands. From the design viewpoint, they have a strong constraint in actuator implementation due to the space limitation in each joint. After briefly introducing the overview of anthropomorphic end-effector and its dexterity in Sect. 19.1, various approaches for actuation are provided with their advantages and disadvantages in Sect. 19.2. The key classification is (1) remote actuation or build-in actuation and (2) the relationship between the number of joints and the number of actuator. In Sect. 19.3, actuators and sensors used for multifingered hands are described. In Sect. 19.4, modeling and control are introduced by considering both dynamic effects and friction. Applications and trends are given in Sect. 19.5. Finally, this chapter is closed with conclusions and further reading.

DLR hand

Author  DLR -Robotics and Mechatronics Center

Video ID : 768

A DLR hand