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Chapter 76 — Evolutionary Robotics

Stefano Nolfi, Josh Bongard, Phil Husbands and Dario Floreano

Evolutionary Robotics is a method for automatically generating artificial brains and morphologies of autonomous robots. This approach is useful both for investigating the design space of robotic applications and for testing scientific hypotheses of biological mechanisms and processes. In this chapter we provide an overview of methods and results of Evolutionary Robotics with robots of different shapes, dimensions, and operation features. We consider both simulated and physical robots with special consideration to the transfer between the two worlds.

Introduction to evolutionary robotics at EPFL

Author  Dario Floreano

Video ID : 119

Method for evolving the neural network of a robot. Valid gene sequences are extracted (magnifying lens) from a binary string representing the genome of the robot. Those genes are translated into neurons of different types (colors) according to the genetic specifications, such as sensory, motor, excitatory, or inhibitory neurons. The corresponding neural network is connected to the sensors and motors of the robot and the resulting behavior of the robot is measured according to the fitness function. The genomes of the individuals that had the worst performance are discarded from the population (symbolically thrown into a dustbin) whereas the genomes of the best individuals are paired and crossed over with small random mutations to generate new offspring (the process of selective reproduction is symbolically shown to occur in a mother robot). After several generations of selective reproductions with mutations, robots display better or novel behaviors.

Chapter 39 — Cooperative Manipulation

Fabrizio Caccavale and Masaru Uchiyama

This chapter is devoted to cooperative manipulation of a common object by means of two or more robotic arms. The chapter opens with a historical overview of the research on cooperativemanipulation, ranging from early 1970s to very recent years. Kinematics and dynamics of robotic arms cooperatively manipulating a tightly grasped rigid object are presented in depth. As for the kinematics and statics, the chosen approach is based on the socalled symmetric formulation; fundamentals of dynamics and reduced-order models for closed kinematic chains are discussed as well. A few special topics, such as the definition of geometrically meaningful cooperative task space variables, the problem of load distribution, and the definition of manipulability ellipsoids, are included to give the reader a complete picture ofmodeling and evaluation methodologies for cooperative manipulators. Then, the chapter presents the main strategies for controlling both the motion of the cooperative system and the interaction forces between the manipulators and the grasped object; in detail, fundamentals of hybrid force/position control, proportional–derivative (PD)-type force/position control schemes, feedback linearization techniques, and impedance control approaches are given. In the last section further reading on advanced topics related to control of cooperative robots is suggested; in detail, advanced nonlinear control strategies are briefly discussed (i. e., intelligent control approaches, synchronization control, decentralized control); also, fundamental results on modeling and control of cooperative systems possessing some degree of flexibility are briefly outlined.

Cooperative grasping and transportation of objects using multiple UAVs

Author  Daniel Mellinger, Michael Shomin, Nathan Michael, Vijay Kumar

Video ID : 66

This video shows experiments on cooperative grasping and transportation of objects using multiple UAVs equipped with grippers.

Chapter 36 — Motion for Manipulation Tasks

James Kuffner and Jing Xiao

This chapter serves as an introduction to Part D by giving an overview of motion generation and control strategies in the context of robotic manipulation tasks. Automatic control ranging from the abstract, high-level task specification down to fine-grained feedback at the task interface are considered. Some of the important issues include modeling of the interfaces between the robot and the environment at the different time scales of motion and incorporating sensing and feedback. Manipulation planning is introduced as an extension to the basic motion planning problem, which can be modeled as a hybrid system of continuous configuration spaces arising from the act of grasping and moving parts in the environment. The important example of assembly motion is discussed through the analysis of contact states and compliant motion control. Finally, methods aimed at integrating global planning with state feedback control are summarized.

Robotic assembly of emergency-stop buttons

Author  Andreas Stolt et al.

Video ID : 358

The video presents a framework for dual-arm robotic assembly of stop buttons utilizing force/torque sensing under the fixture and force control.

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 61 — Robot Surveillance and Security

Wendell H. Chun and Nikolaos Papanikolopoulos

This chapter introduces the foundation for surveillance and security robots for multiple military and civilian applications. The key environmental domains are mobile robots for ground, aerial, surface water, and underwater applications. Surveillance literallymeans to watch fromabove,while surveillance robots are used to monitor the behavior, activities, and other changing information that are gathered for the general purpose of managing, directing, or protecting one’s assets or position. In a practical sense, the term surveillance is taken to mean the act of observation from a distance, and security robots are commonly used to protect and safeguard a location, some valuable assets, or personal against danger, damage, loss, and crime. Surveillance is a proactive operation,while security robots are a defensive operation. The construction of each type of robot is similar in nature with amobility component, sensor payload, communication system, and an operator control station.

After introducing the major robot components, this chapter focuses on the various applications. More specifically, Sect. 61.3 discusses the enabling technologies of mobile robot navigation, various payload sensors used for surveillance or security applications, target detection and tracking algorithms, and the operator’s robot control console for human–machine interface (HMI). Section 61.4 presents selected research activities relevant to surveillance and security, including automatic data processing of the payload sensors, automaticmonitoring of human activities, facial recognition, and collaborative automatic target recognition (ATR). Finally, Sect. 61.5 discusses future directions in robot surveillance and security, giving some conclusions and followed by references.

People detection from a UAV

Author  Hisham Sager, William Hoff

Video ID : 678

For pedestrian detection in outdoor surveillance scenarios, the size of pedestrians in the images are often very small (around 20 pixels tall). The most common and successful approaches for single-frame pedestrian detection use gradient-based features and a support vector machine classifier. Colorado School of Mines has developed a new algorithm that extracts gradient features from a spatio-temporal volume, consisting of a short sequence of images (about one second in duration). The additional information provided by the motion of the person compensates for the loss of resolution.

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 KR270 : Trajectory with load

Author  Maxime Gautier

Video ID : 487

This video shows a trajectory with a known payload mass used to identify the dynamic parameters of the links, load, joint drive gains and gravity compensator of a heavy industrial Kuka KR 270 manipulator Details and results are given in the paper: A. Jubien, M. Gautier, Global identification of spring balancer, dynamic parameters and drive gains of heavy industrial robots, IEEE/RSJ Int. Conf. Intel. Robot. Syst. (IROS), Tokyo (2013), pp. 1355-1360

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.

Interactive, human-robot supervision test with the long-range science rover for Mars exploration

Author  Samad Hayati, Richard Volpe, Paul Backes, J. (Bob) Balaram, Richard Welch, Robert Ivlev, Gregory Tharp, Steve Peters, Tim Ohm, Richard Petras

Video ID : 187

This video records a demonstration of the long-range rover mission on the surface of Mars. The Mars rover, the test bed Rocky 7, performs several demonstrations including 3-D terrain mapping using the panoramic camera, telescience over the internet, an autonomous mobility test, and soil sampling. This demonstration was among the preliminary tests for the Mars Pathfinder mission executed in 1997.

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.

VSA-Cube arm: Drawing on a wavy surface (selective stiffness)

Author  Centro di Ricerca "E. Piaggio"

Video ID : 474

A 3-DOF arm, built with VSA-cube units, performing a circle on a wavy surface with a proper (selective) stiffness preset.

Chapter 8 — Motion Control

Wan Kyun Chung, Li-Chen Fu and Torsten Kröger

This chapter will focus on the motion control of robotic rigid manipulators. In other words, this chapter does not treat themotion control ofmobile robots, flexible manipulators, and manipulators with elastic joints. The main challenge in the motion control problem of rigid manipulators is the complexity of their dynamics and uncertainties. The former results from nonlinearity and coupling in the robot manipulators. The latter is twofold: structured and unstructured. Structured uncertainty means imprecise knowledge of the dynamic parameters and will be touched upon in this chapter, whereas unstructured uncertainty results from joint and link flexibility, actuator dynamics, friction, sensor noise, and unknown environment dynamics, and will be treated in other chapters. In this chapter, we begin with an introduction to motion control of robot manipulators from a fundamental viewpoint, followed by a survey and brief review of the relevant advanced materials. Specifically, the dynamic model and useful properties of robot manipulators are recalled in Sect. 8.1. The joint and operational space control approaches, two different viewpoints on control of robot manipulators, are compared in Sect. 8.2. Independent joint control and proportional– integral–derivative (PID) control, widely adopted in the field of industrial robots, are presented in Sects. 8.3 and 8.4, respectively. Tracking control, based on feedback linearization, is introduced in Sect. 8.5. The computed-torque control and its variants are described in Sect. 8.6. Adaptive control is introduced in Sect. 8.7 to solve the problem of structural uncertainty, whereas the optimality and robustness issues are covered in Sect. 8.8. To compute suitable set point signals as input values for these motion controllers, Sect. 8.9 introduces reference trajectory planning concepts. Since most controllers of robotmanipulators are implemented by using microprocessors, the issues of digital implementation are discussed in Sect. 8.10. Finally, learning control, one popular approach to intelligent control, is illustrated in Sect. 8.11.

Virtual whiskers - Highly responsive robot collision avoidance

Author  Thomas Schlegl, Torsten Kröger, Andre Gaschler, Oussama Khatib, Hubert Zangl

Video ID : 758

All mammals but humans use whiskers in order to rapidly acquire information about objects in the vicinity of the head. Collisions of the head and objects can be avoided as the contact point is moved from the body surface to the whiskers. Such a behavior is also highly desirable during many robot tasks such as for human-robot interaction. This video shows the use of novel capacitive proximity sensors so that robots can sense when they approach a human (or an object) and react before they actually collide with it. The sensors are flexible and thin so that they feature skin-like properties and can be attached to various robotic links and joint shapes. In comparison to capacitive proximity sensors, the proposed virtual whiskers offer better sensitivity towards small conductive as well as non-conductive objects. Equipped with the new proximity sensors, a seven-joint robot for human-robot interaction tasks demonstrates the efficiency and responsiveness in this video. Reference: T. Schlegl, T. Kröger, A. Gaschler, O. Khatib, H. Zangl: Virtual whiskers - Highly responsive robot collision avoidance, Proc. IEEE/RSJ Int. Conf. Intel. Robot. Syst. (IROS), Tokyo (2013)

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 Barrett Hand

Author  Barrett Technology Inc.

Video ID : 752

The Barrett Hand is one of the first effective commercial robot grippers. Although it is not an anthropomorphic hand, its kinematics and actuation system enable a great diversity of grasps.