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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.

RoACH: a 2.4 gram, untethered, crawling hexapod robot

Author  Aaron M. Hoover, Erik Steltz, Ronald S. Fearing

Video ID : 286

The robotic autonomous crawling hexapod (RoACH) is made using lightweight composites with integrated flexural hinges. It is actuated by two shape-memory-alloy wires and controlled by a PIC microprocessor. It can communicate over IrDA and run untethered for more than nine minutes on a single charge.

Chapter 6 — Model Identification

John Hollerbach, Wisama Khalil and Maxime Gautier

This chapter discusses how to determine the kinematic parameters and the inertial parameters of robot manipulators. Both instances of model identification are cast into a common framework of least-squares parameter estimation, and are shown to have common numerical issues relating to the identifiability of parameters, adequacy of the measurement sets, and numerical robustness. These discussions are generic to any parameter estimation problem, and can be applied in other contexts.

For kinematic calibration, the main aim is to identify the geometric Denavit–Hartenberg (DH) parameters, although joint-based parameters relating to the sensing and transmission elements can also be identified. Endpoint sensing or endpoint constraints can provide equivalent calibration equations. By casting all calibration methods as closed-loop calibration, the calibration index categorizes methods in terms of how many equations per pose are generated.

Inertial parameters may be estimated through the execution of a trajectory while sensing one or more components of force/torque at a joint. Load estimation of a handheld object is simplest because of full mobility and full wrist force-torque sensing. For link inertial parameter estimation, restricted mobility of links nearer the base as well as sensing only the joint torque means that not all inertial parameters can be identified. Those that can be identified are those that affect joint torque, although they may appear in complicated linear combinations.

Dynamic identification of Kuka LWR : Trajectory with load

Author  Maxime Gautier

Video ID : 483

This video shows a trajectory with a known payload mass of 4.6 (kg) used to identify the dynamic parameters and torque-sensor gains of the KUKA LWR manipulator. Details and results are given in the papers: A. Jubien, M. Gautier, A. Janot: Dynamic identification of the Kuka LWR robot using motor torques and joint torque sensors data, preprints 19th IFAC World Congress, Cape Town (2014) pp. 8391-8396 M. Gautier, A. Jubien: Force calibration of the Kuka LWR-like robots including embedded joint torque sensors and robot structure, IEEE/RSJ Int. Conf. Intel. Robot. Syst. (IROS), Chicago (2014) pp. 416-421

Chapter 7 — Motion Planning

Lydia E. Kavraki and Steven M. LaValle

This chapter first provides a formulation of the geometric path planning problem in Sect. 7.2 and then introduces sampling-based planning in Sect. 7.3. Sampling-based planners are general techniques applicable to a wide set of problems and have been successful in dealing with hard planning instances. For specific, often simpler, planning instances, alternative approaches exist and are presented in Sect. 7.4. These approaches provide theoretical guarantees and for simple planning instances they outperform samplingbased planners. Section 7.5 considers problems that involve differential constraints, while Sect. 7.6 overviews several other extensions of the basic problem formulation and proposed solutions. Finally, Sect. 7.8 addresses some important andmore advanced topics related to motion planning.

Kinodynamic motion planning for a car-like robot

Author  Caleb Voss

Video ID : 24

In this video, the objective of the car is to reach a goal location by jumping over a ramp and pushing a block out of the way. This problem requires kinodynamic motion planning for a car-like robot using a physics simulator. This video was generated using the software tools OMPL, Blender, and MORSE.

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.

Hexapod ParaWalker-II

Author  Yusuke Ota

Video ID : 520

A twin-frame walking robot, which is a reduced-DOF practical walking robot, developed by Dr. Ota and Prof. Hirose.

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.

Towards a swarm of nano quadrotors

Author  Alex Kushleyev, Daniel Mellinger, Vijay Kumar

Video ID : 213

This video shows experiments performed with a team of nano quadrotors at the GRASP Lab, University of Pennsylvania.

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.

Modsnake fence navigation

Author  Howie Choset

Video ID : 165

Video of the CMU Modsnake navigating under a fence.

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.


Author  James P. Trevelyan

Video ID : 575

This is another smaller, remotely-operated, mine-clearance vehicle similar in principle to the BOZENA machine described in Video 574. This video clearly shows the vegetation removal capability of these machines.

Chapter 35 — Multisensor Data Fusion

Hugh Durrant-Whyte and Thomas C. Henderson

Multisensor data fusion is the process of combining observations from a number of different sensors to provide a robust and complete description of an environment or process of interest. Data fusion finds wide application in many areas of robotics such as object recognition, environment mapping, and localization.

This chapter has three parts: methods, architectures, and applications. Most current data fusion methods employ probabilistic descriptions of observations and processes and use Bayes’ rule to combine this information. This chapter surveys the main probabilistic modeling and fusion techniques including grid-based models, Kalman filtering, and sequential Monte Carlo techniques. This chapter also briefly reviews a number of nonprobabilistic data fusion methods. Data fusion systems are often complex combinations of sensor devices, processing, and fusion algorithms. This chapter provides an overview of key principles in data fusion architectures from both a hardware and algorithmic viewpoint. The applications of data fusion are pervasive in robotics and underly the core problem of sensing, estimation, and perception. We highlight two example applications that bring out these features. The first describes a navigation or self-tracking application for an autonomous vehicle. The second describes an application in mapping and environment modeling.

The essential algorithmic tools of data fusion are reasonably well established. However, the development and use of these tools in realistic robotics applications is still developing.


Author  Thomas C. Henderson

Video ID : 132

This is a video showing the multisensor autonomous vehicle merging into traffic.

Chapter 46 — Simultaneous Localization and Mapping

Cyrill Stachniss, John J. Leonard and Sebastian Thrun

This chapter provides a comprehensive introduction in to the simultaneous localization and mapping problem, better known in its abbreviated form as SLAM. SLAM addresses the main perception problem of a robot navigating an unknown environment. While navigating the environment, the robot seeks to acquire a map thereof, and at the same time it wishes to localize itself using its map. The use of SLAM problems can be motivated in two different ways: one might be interested in detailed environment models, or one might seek to maintain an accurate sense of a mobile robot’s location. SLAM serves both of these purposes.

We review the three major paradigms from which many published methods for SLAM are derived: (1) the extended Kalman filter (EKF); (2) particle filtering; and (3) graph optimization. We also review recent work in three-dimensional (3-D) SLAM using visual and red green blue distance-sensors (RGB-D), and close with a discussion of open research problems in robotic mapping.

Graph-based SLAM using TORO

Author  Cyrill Stachniss

Video ID : 446

This video provides an illustration of graph-based SLAM, as described in Chap. 46.3.3, Springer Handbook of Robotics, 2nd edn (2016), using the TORO algorithm. Reference: G. Grisetti, C. Stachniss, S. Grzonka, W. Burgard. A tree parameterization for efficiently computing maximum likelihood maps using gradient descent, Proc. Robot. Sci. Syst. (RSS), Atlanta (2007)

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.

A transversely magnetized, rod-shaped microrobot

Author  Bradley J. Nelson

Video ID : 13

This video shows a transversely magnetized, rod-shaped microrobot, named the RodBot, manipulating a polystyrene sphere of diameter 130 µm in a liquid. The RodBot rolls around its long axis on a surface and its speed and orientation are controlled by external, rotating magnetic fields. The flows generated by the RodBot are capable of lifting up the polystyrene sphere, trapping it in the vortex above the RodBot and transporting it to any predefined location in the solution.