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Robotics, Volume 3, Issue 2 (June 2014), Pages 106-234

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Research

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Open AccessArticle A Magnetic Microrobot with in situ Force Sensing Capabilities
Robotics 2014, 3(2), 106-119; doi:10.3390/robotics3020106
Received: 13 January 2014 / Revised: 23 March 2014 / Accepted: 27 March 2014 / Published: 8 April 2014
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (844 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper presents a proof-of-concept prototype of a micro force sensing mobile microrobot. The design consists of a planar, elastic mechanism serving as computer vision-based force sensor module, while the microrobot body is made from a magnetic layer driven by a magnetic field.
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This paper presents a proof-of-concept prototype of a micro force sensing mobile microrobot. The design consists of a planar, elastic mechanism serving as computer vision-based force sensor module, while the microrobot body is made from a magnetic layer driven by a magnetic field. From observing the deformation of the elastic mechanism, manipulation forces can be determined. The deformation is tracked by a CCD camera attached to an optical microscope. This design is validated through experimental tests with a micromachined prototype. The preliminary results verify this first microrobot prototype is indeed capable of in situ force sensing. This concept can be scaled down further for next generation designs and can be designed for real biomedical applications on microscale. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Frontiers of Micro and Nanorobotic Systems)
Open AccessArticle Position Estimation of Small Robotic Fish Based on Camera Information and Gyro Sensors
Robotics 2014, 3(2), 149-162; doi:10.3390/robotics3020149
Received: 25 February 2014 / Revised: 27 March 2014 / Accepted: 3 April 2014 / Published: 17 April 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (3870 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Robotic fish are ideal for surveying fish resources and performing underwater structural inspections. If a robot is sufficiently fishlike in appearance and does not use a screw propeller, real fish will not be easily surprised by it. However, it is comparatively difficult for
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Robotic fish are ideal for surveying fish resources and performing underwater structural inspections. If a robot is sufficiently fishlike in appearance and does not use a screw propeller, real fish will not be easily surprised by it. However, it is comparatively difficult for such a robot to determine its own position in water. Radio signals, such as those used by GPS, cannot be easily received. Moreover, sound ranging is impractical because of the presence of rocks and waterweed in places where fish spend a lot of time. For practical applications such as photographing fish, a robotic fish needs to follow the target fish without losing awareness of its own position, in order to be able to swim autonomously. We have developed a robotic fish named FOCUS (FPGA Offline Control Underwater Searcher) which is equipped with two CMOS cameras and a field-programmable gate array (FPGA) circuit board for data processing. The forward-facing camera is used to track red objects, since this is the color of the fish of interest. In addition, using visual information obtained with the bottom-facing camera, the robot can estimate its present position. This is achieved by performing real-time digital image correlation using the FPGA. However, until now, the position estimation accuracy has been poor due to the influence of yaw and roll. In the present study, the position estimation method has been greatly improved by taking into account the yaw and roll values measured using gyro sensors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Biomimetic Robotics)
Open AccessArticle Aerodynamic Bio-Mimetics of Gliding Dragonflies for Ultra-Light Flying Robot
Robotics 2014, 3(2), 163-180; doi:10.3390/robotics3020163
Received: 13 March 2014 / Revised: 24 April 2014 / Accepted: 16 May 2014 / Published: 27 May 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2842 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A detailed investigation including a low-speed flow study is presented on the development of ultra-light dragonfly mimetic flying robots with a focus on the dragonfly’s remarkable gliding capability. It is revealed that the dragonfly’s corrugated wing structure and cruciform configuration provide superior flying
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A detailed investigation including a low-speed flow study is presented on the development of ultra-light dragonfly mimetic flying robots with a focus on the dragonfly’s remarkable gliding capability. It is revealed that the dragonfly’s corrugated wing structure and cruciform configuration provide superior flying characteristics for fixed wing robots in low Reynolds number flight. It was also found that the dragonfly configuration has additional merit in its compatibility with propellers or high lift devices. This combination with such classic aero-engineering makes possible robots with broader flight envelope than conventional fixed-wing flying robots. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Biomimetic Robotics)
Open AccessArticle Design Issues for Hexapod Walking Robots
Robotics 2014, 3(2), 181-206; doi:10.3390/robotics3020181
Received: 31 March 2014 / Revised: 7 May 2014 / Accepted: 15 May 2014 / Published: 10 June 2014
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (1548 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Hexapod walking robots have attracted considerable attention for several decades. Many studies have been carried out in research centers, universities and industries. However, only in the recent past have efficient walking machines been conceived, designed and built with performances that can be suitable
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Hexapod walking robots have attracted considerable attention for several decades. Many studies have been carried out in research centers, universities and industries. However, only in the recent past have efficient walking machines been conceived, designed and built with performances that can be suitable for practical applications. This paper gives an overview of the state of the art on hexapod walking robots by referring both to the early design solutions and the most recent achievements. Careful attention is given to the main design issues and constraints that influence the technical feasibility and operation performance. A design procedure is outlined in order to systematically design a hexapod walking robot. In particular, the proposed design procedure takes into account the main features, such as mechanical structure and leg configuration, actuating and driving systems, payload, motion conditions, and walking gait. A case study is described in order to show the effectiveness and feasibility of the proposed design procedure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Biomimetic Robotics)
Figures

Open AccessArticle Towards an Open Software Platform for Field Robots in Precision Agriculture
Robotics 2014, 3(2), 207-234; doi:10.3390/robotics3020207
Received: 20 September 2013 / Revised: 12 May 2014 / Accepted: 18 May 2014 / Published: 13 June 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (3486 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Robotics in precision agriculture has the potential to improve competitiveness and increase sustainability compared to current crop production methods and has become an increasingly active area of research. Tractor guidance systems for supervised navigation and implement control have reached the market, and prototypes
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Robotics in precision agriculture has the potential to improve competitiveness and increase sustainability compared to current crop production methods and has become an increasingly active area of research. Tractor guidance systems for supervised navigation and implement control have reached the market, and prototypes of field robots performing precision agriculture tasks without human intervention also exist. But research in advanced cognitive perception and behaviour that is required to enable a more efficient, reliable and safe autonomy becomes increasingly demanding due to the growing software complexity. A lack of collaboration between research groups contributes to the problem. Scientific publications describe methods and results from the work, but little field robot software is released and documented for others to use. We hypothesize that a common open software platform tailored to field robots in precision agriculture will significantly decrease development time and resources required to perform experiments due to efficient reuse of existing work across projects and robot platforms. In this work we present the FroboMind software platform and evaluate the performance when applied to precision agriculture tasks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Robots)

Review

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Open AccessReview Recent Trends in Lower-Limb Robotic Rehabilitation Orthosis: Control Scheme and Strategy for Pneumatic Muscle Actuated Gait Trainers
Robotics 2014, 3(2), 120-148; doi:10.3390/robotics3020120
Received: 10 January 2014 / Revised: 17 March 2014 / Accepted: 21 March 2014 / Published: 14 April 2014
Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (932 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
It is a general assumption that pneumatic muscle-type actuators will play an important role in the development of an assistive rehabilitation robotics system. In the last decade, the development of a pneumatic muscle actuated lower-limb leg orthosis has been rather slow compared to
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It is a general assumption that pneumatic muscle-type actuators will play an important role in the development of an assistive rehabilitation robotics system. In the last decade, the development of a pneumatic muscle actuated lower-limb leg orthosis has been rather slow compared to other types of actuated leg orthoses that use AC motors, DC motors, pneumatic cylinders, linear actuators, series elastic actuators (SEA) and brushless servomotors. However, recent years have shown that the interest in this field has grown exponentially, mainly due to the demand for a more compliant and interactive human-robotics system. This paper presents a survey of existing lower-limb leg orthoses for rehabilitation, which implement pneumatic muscle-type actuators, such as McKibben artificial muscles, rubbertuators, air muscles, pneumatic artificial muscles (PAM) or pneumatic muscle actuators (PMA). It reviews all the currently existing lower-limb rehabilitation orthosis systems in terms of comparison and evaluation of the design, as well as the control scheme and strategy, with the aim of clarifying the current and on-going research in the lower-limb robotic rehabilitation field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Medical Robotics and Systems)

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