Abstract: Flocking starlings at dusk are known for the mesmerizing and intricate shapes they generate, as well as how fluid these shapes change. They seem to do this effortlessly. Real-life vision-based flocking has not been achieved in micro-UAVs (micro Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) to date. Towards this goal, we make three contributions in this paper: (i) we used a computational approach to develop a bio-inspired architecture for vision-based Leader-Follower formation flying on two micro-UAVs. We believe that the minimal computational cost of the resulting algorithm makes it suitable for object detection and tracking during high-speed flocking; (ii) we show that provided delays in the control loop of a micro-UAV are below a critical value, Kalman filter-based estimation algorithms are not required to achieve Leader-Follower formation flying; (iii) unlike previous approaches, we do not use external observers, such as GPS signals or synchronized communication with flock members. These three contributions could be useful in achieving vision-based flocking in GPS-denied environments on computationally-limited agents.
Abstract: The idea to use a cost-effective pneumatic padding for sensing of physical interaction between a user and wearable rehabilitation robots is not new, but until now there has not been any practical relevant realization. In this paper, we present a novel method to estimate physical human-robot interaction using a pneumatic padding based on artificial neural networks (ANNs). This estimation can serve as rough indicator of applied forces/torques by the user and can be applied for visual feedback about the user’s participation or as additional information for interaction controllers. Unlike common mostly very expensive 6-axis force/torque sensors (FTS), the proposed sensor system can be easily integrated in the design of physical human-robot interfaces of rehabilitation robots and adapts itself to the shape of the individual patient’s extremity by pressure changing in pneumatic chambers, in order to provide a safe physical interaction with high user’s comfort. This paper describes a concept of using ANNs for estimation of interaction forces/torques based on pressure variations of eight customized air-pad chambers. The ANNs were trained one-time offline using signals of a high precision FTS which is also used as reference sensor for experimental validation. Experiments with three different subjects confirm the functionality of the concept and the estimation algorithm.
Abstract: Humans can recognize approximate room size using only binaural audition. However, sound reverberation is not negligible in most environments. The reverberation causes temporal fluctuations in the short-term interaural phase differences (IPDs) of sound pressure. This study proposes a novel method for a binaural humanoid robot head to estimate room volume. The method is based on the statistical properties of the short-term IPDs of sound pressure. The humanoid robot turns its head toward a sound source, recognizes the sound source, and then estimates the ego-centric distance by its stereovision. By interpolating the relations between room volume, average standard deviation, and ego-centric distance experimentally obtained for various rooms in a prepared database, the room volume was estimated by the binaural audition of the robot from the average standard deviation of the short-term IPDs at the estimated distance.
Abstract: Due to their inherent compliance, soft actuated joints are becoming increasingly important for robotic applications, especially when human-robot-interactions are expected. Several of these flexible actuators are inspired by biological models. One perfect showpiece for biomimetic robots is the spider leg, because it combines lightweight design and graceful movements with powerful and dynamic actuation. Building on this motivation, the review article focuses on compliant robotic joints inspired by the function principle of the spider leg. The mechanism is introduced by an overview of existing biological and biomechanical research. Thereupon a classification of robots that are bio-inspired by spider joints is presented. Based on this, the biomimetic robot applications referring to the spider principle are identified and discussed.
Abstract: In recent decades, skyscrapers, as represented by the Burj Khalifa in Dubai and Shanghai Tower in Shanghai, have been built due to the improvements of construction technologies. Even in such newfangled skyscrapers, the façades are generally cleaned by humans. Wall climbing robots, which are capable of climbing up vertical surfaces, ceilings and roofs, are expected to replace the manual workforce in façade cleaning works, which is both hazardous and laborious work. Such tasks require these robotic platforms to possess high levels of adaptability and flexibility. This paper presents a detailed review of wall climbing robots categorizing them into six distinct classes based on the adhesive mechanism that they use. This paper concludes by expanding beyond adhesive mechanisms by discussing a set of desirable design attributes of an ideal glass façade cleaning robot towards facilitating targeted future research with clear technical goals and well-defined design trade-off boundaries.
Abstract: Reconfigurable legged robots based on one degree of freedom are highly desired because they are effective on rough and irregular terrains and they provide mobility in such terrain with simple control schemes. It is necessary that reconfigurable legged robots should maintain stability during rest and motion, with a minimum number of legs while maintaining their full range of walking patterns resulting from different gait configuration. In this paper we present a method to generate input trajectory for reconfigurable quadruped robots based on Klann mechanism to properly synchronize movement. Six useful gait cycles based on this reconfigurable Klann mechanism for quadruped robots has been clearly shown here. The platform stability for these six useful gait cycles are validated through simulated results which clearly shows the capabilities of reconfigurable design.