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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.

Jean Vertut master-slave manipulator arms

Author  James P. Trevelyan

Video ID : 590

Jean Vertut (http://cyberneticzoo.com/teleoperators/1970-2-virgule-remote-controlled-manipulator-jean-vertut-french/), a French engineer, is widely credited with the best and most popular designs for remotely-operated manipulators used in the nuclear industry. Research on devices for nuclear applications is described in the chapter. Here are some other reference links: http://robotics.me.utexas.edu/index.html - research group working on robots for hazardous environments. In this video, one watches the fully automatic Port-Deployed Glovebox Manipulator: Pick and Place in operation. Compare the speed and dexterity of this device with the 1950s era remotely controlled manipulator arms mentioned above. It is hard for automatic devices to even approach the speed of manually-controlled devices, even today after 60 years of robotics research and development.

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.

CompAct™ robotics technology

Author  Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT)

Video ID : 471

Brief video showing CompAct™ actuation units and arm, demonstrating the effects of its core variable damping (VPDA) technology. Key features of these units include: 1. intrinsic safety (lightweight and elastic transmission) meant for safe human-robot collaboration; 2. precision, thanks to the variable damping transmission, protected by international patents; 3. ease of use (no need for experts to program it, easy to reprogram, flexible to use).

Chapter 27 — Micro-/Nanorobots

Bradley J. Nelson, Lixin Dong and Fumihito Arai

The field of microrobotics covers the robotic manipulation of objects with dimensions in the millimeter to micron range as well as the design and fabrication of autonomous robotic agents that fall within this size range. Nanorobotics is defined in the same way only for dimensions smaller than a micron. With the ability to position and orient objects with micron- and nanometer-scale dimensions, manipulation at each of these scales is a promising way to enable the assembly of micro- and nanosystems, including micro- and nanorobots.

This chapter overviews the state of the art of both micro- and nanorobotics, outlines scaling effects, actuation, and sensing and fabrication at these scales, and focuses on micro- and nanorobotic manipulation systems and their application in microassembly, biotechnology, and the construction and characterization of micro and nanoelectromechanical systems (MEMS/NEMS). Material science, biotechnology, and micro- and nanoelectronics will also benefit from advances in these areas of robotics.

Linear-to-rotary motion converters for three-dimensional microscopy

Author  Lixin Dong

Video ID : 492

This video shows the application of a linear-to-rotary motion converter in 3-D imaging using a scanning electron microscope. The motion converter consists of a SiGe/Si dual-chirality helical nanobelt (DCHNB). The experiment was done using nanorobotic manipulation. Analytical and experimental investigation shows that the motion conversion has excellent linearity for small deflections. The stiffness (0.033 N/m) is much smaller than that of bottom-up synthesized helical nanostructures, which is promising for high-resolution force measurement in nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS). The ultracompact size makes it also possible for DCHNBs to serve as rotary stages for creating 3-D scanning probe microscopes or microgoniometers.

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.

Mobile robot helper

Author  Kazuhiro Kosuge, Manabu Sato, Norihide Kazamura

Video ID : 788

The mobile robot helper has two 7-DOF arms, force/torque sensors. Named Mr. Helper, it helps people to move objects, using FT sensor and impedance control system.

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.

IREP tagging spikes

Author  Nabil Simaan

Video ID : 246

This video shows telemanipulation of the IREP (insertible robotic effectors platform). The IREP is a system having 21 controllable axes including two 7-DOF dexterous arms, 3-DOF camera head, an insertion stage, and two grippers [1]. Reference: [1] A. Bajo, R. E. Goldman, L. Wang, D. Fowler, N. Simaan: Integration and preliminary evaluation of an insertable robotic effectors platform for single port access surgery, Proc. 2012 IEEE Int. Conf. Robot. Autom. (ICRA), St. Paul (2012), pp. 3381-3387

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.

Qualification testing of a tracked vehicle in the NIST Disaster City

Author  SuperDroid Robots, Inc

Video ID : 189

NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) developed a standard test field for evaluation of all-terrain mobile robots, called Disaster City in Texas, U.S.A. The field includes steps, stairs, steep slopes, and random step fields (unfixed wooden blocks), which simulates a disaster environment. This video-clip shows an evaluation test of the tracked vehicle, called LT-F, produced by SuperDroidRobots in 2011 in the Disaster City. All tests had to be performed remotely by the vehicle for 10 successful iterations each to qualify.

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.

Nonverbal envelope displays to support turn-taking behavior

Author  Cynthia Breazeal

Video ID : 559

This video is a demonstration of Kismet's envelope displays to regulate turn-taking during a "conversation". In this video, Kismet is "speaking" with one person, but also acknowledges the presence of a second person. The robot is not communicating an actual language, so this video is more reminiscent of speaking with a pre-linguistic child. The nonverbal turn-taking behavior is what is being highlighted.

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.

Swarm robotics at CU-Boulder

Author  Dustin Reishus, Nicholas Farrow

Video ID : 214

Researchers at the University of Colorado, Boulder, are developing a swarm of intelligent robots that can work together to perform tasks, such as containing an oil spill or building a space station.

Chapter 43 — Telerobotics

Günter Niemeyer, Carsten Preusche, Stefano Stramigioli and Dongjun Lee

In this chapter we present an overview of the field of telerobotics with a focus on control aspects. To acknowledge some of the earliest contributions and motivations the field has provided to robotics in general, we begin with a brief historical perspective and discuss some of the challenging applications. Then, after introducing and classifying the various system architectures and control strategies, we emphasize bilateral control and force feedback. This particular area has seen intense research work in the pursuit of telepresence. We also examine some of the emerging efforts, extending telerobotic concepts to unconventional systems and applications. Finally,we suggest some further reading for a closer engagement with the field.

Teleoperated humanoid robot - HRP: Tele-driving of lifting vehicle

Author  Masami Kobayashi, Hisashi Moriyama, Toshiyuki Itoko, Yoshitaka Yanagihara, Takao Ueno, Kazuhisa Ohya, Kazuhito Yokoi

Video ID : 319

This video shows the teleoperation a humanoid robot HRP using whole-body multimodal tele-existence system. The human operator teleoperates the humanoid robot to drive a lifting vehicle in a warehouse. Presented at ICRA 2002.

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.

Autonomous sub-tracks control 2

Author  Field Robotics Group, Tohoku University

Video ID : 191

Field robotics group (Tohoku University) developed an autonomous controller for the tracked vehicle (Quince) to generate terrain-reflective motions by the sub-tracks. Terrain information is obtained using laser range sensors that are located on both sides of the Quince. Using this system, operators only have to specify a direction for the robot, following which the robot traverses rough terrain using autonomous sub-track motions.