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Robotics, Volume 13, Issue 5 (May 2024) – 17 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): While articulated robots and AGVs are common in sectors like automotive and aeronautics, mobile manipulators are still less widespread. Even so, most applications still separate navigation and manipulation tasks, avoiding simultaneous platforms and arm movements. Using mobile manipulators on moving objects enables applications like riveting or screwing parts on conveyor belts or AGVs. This paper presents a novel position-based visual servoing (PBVS) architecture for mobile manipulators for precise operations on moving parts. The architecture includes a state machine to guide the task phases for correct execution. The approach was validated in an industrial environment for screw-fastening, with promising results. View this paper
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17 pages, 60650 KiB  
Article
Autonomous Alignment and Docking Control for a Self-Reconfigurable Modular Mobile Robotic System
by Shumin Feng, Yujiong Liu, Isaac Pressgrove and Pinhas Ben-Tzvi
Robotics 2024, 13(5), 81; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics13050081 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 337
Abstract
This paper presents the path planning and motion control of a self-reconfigurable mobile robot system, focusing on module-to-module autonomous docking and alignment tasks. STORM, which stands for Self-configurable and Transformable Omni-Directional Robotic Modules, features a unique mode-switching ability and novel docking mechanism design. [...] Read more.
This paper presents the path planning and motion control of a self-reconfigurable mobile robot system, focusing on module-to-module autonomous docking and alignment tasks. STORM, which stands for Self-configurable and Transformable Omni-Directional Robotic Modules, features a unique mode-switching ability and novel docking mechanism design. This enables the modules that make up STORM to dock with each other and form a variety configurations in or to perform a large array of tasks. The path planning and motion control presented here consists of two parallel schemes. A Lyapunov function-based precision controller is proposed to align the target docking mechanisms in a small range of the target position. Then, an optimization-based path planning algorithm is proposed to help find the fastest path and determine when to switch its locomotion mode in a much larger range. Both numerical simulations and real-world experiments were carried out to validate these proposed controllers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Motion Trajectory Prediction for Mobile Robots)
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16 pages, 8066 KiB  
Article
CardioXplorer: An Open-Source Modular Teleoperative Robotic Catheter Ablation System
by Zhouyang Xu, Aya Mutaz Zeidan, Yetao He, Lisa Leung, Calum Byrne, Sachin Sabu, Yuanwei Wu, Zhiyue Chen, Steven E. Williams, Lukas Lindenroth, Jonathan Behar, Christopher Aldo Rinaldi, John Whitaker, Aruna Arujuna, Richard Housden and Kawal Rhode
Robotics 2024, 13(5), 80; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics13050080 - 19 May 2024
Viewed by 326
Abstract
Atrial fibrillation, the most prevalent cardiac arrhythmia, is treated by catheter ablation to isolate electrical triggers. Clinical trials on robotic catheter systems hold promise for improving the safety and efficacy of the procedure. However, expense and proprietary designs hinder accessibility to such systems. [...] Read more.
Atrial fibrillation, the most prevalent cardiac arrhythmia, is treated by catheter ablation to isolate electrical triggers. Clinical trials on robotic catheter systems hold promise for improving the safety and efficacy of the procedure. However, expense and proprietary designs hinder accessibility to such systems. This paper details an open-source, modular, three-degree-of-freedom robotic platform for teleoperating commercial ablation catheters through joystick navigation. We also demonstrate a catheter-agnostic handle interface permitting customization with commercial catheters. Collaborating clinicians performed benchtop targeting trials, comparing manual and robotic catheter navigation performance. The robot reduced task duration by 1.59 s across participants and five trials. Validation through mean motion jerk analysis revealed 35.2% smoother robotic navigation for experts (≥10 years experience) compared to the intermediate group. Yet, both groups achieved smoother robot motion relative to the manual approach, with the experts and intermediates exhibiting 42.2% and 13.6% improvements, respectively. These results highlight the potential of this system for enhancing catheter-based procedures. The source code and designs of CardioXplorer have been made publicly available to lower boundaries and drive innovations that enhance procedure efficacy beyond human capabilities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Medical Robotics and Service Robotics)
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17 pages, 7765 KiB  
Article
A Simulation-Based Framework to Determine the Kinematic Compatibility of an Augmentative Exoskeleton during Walking
by S. Nagarajan, K. Mohanavelu and S. Sujatha
Robotics 2024, 13(5), 79; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics13050079 - 17 May 2024
Viewed by 436
Abstract
Augmentative exoskeletons (AEs) are wearable orthotic devices that, when coupled with a healthy individual, can significantly enhance endurance, speed, and strength. Exoskeletons are function-specific and individual-specific, with a multitude of possible configurations and joint mechanisms. This complexity presents a challenging scenario to quantitatively [...] Read more.
Augmentative exoskeletons (AEs) are wearable orthotic devices that, when coupled with a healthy individual, can significantly enhance endurance, speed, and strength. Exoskeletons are function-specific and individual-specific, with a multitude of possible configurations and joint mechanisms. This complexity presents a challenging scenario to quantitatively determine the optimal choice of the kinematic configuration of the exoskeleton for the intended activity. A comprehensive simulation-based framework for obtaining an optimal configuration of a passive augmentative exoskeleton for backpack load carriage during walking is the theme of this research paper. A musculoskeletal-based simulation approach on 16 possible kinematic configurations with different Degrees of Freedom (DoF) at the exoskeleton structure’s hip, knee, and ankle joints was performed, and a configuration with three DoF at the hip, one DoF at the knee, three DoF at the ankle was quantitatively chosen. The Root Mean Square of Deviations (RMSD) and Maximum Deviations (MaxDev) between the kinematically coupled human–exoskeleton system were used as criteria along with the Cumulative Weight Score (CWS). The chosen configuration from the simulation was designed, realised, and experimentally validated. The error of the joint angles between the simulation and experiments with the chosen configuration was less than 3° at the hip and ankle joints and less than 6° at the knee joints. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Neurorobotics)
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30 pages, 103345 KiB  
Article
Modelling, Analysis and Comparison of Robot Energy Consumption for Three-Dimensional Concrete Printing Technology
by Daniel Kajzr, Tomáš Myslivec and Josef Černohorský
Robotics 2024, 13(5), 78; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics13050078 - 14 May 2024
Viewed by 596
Abstract
The technology used for the 3D printing of buildings from concrete is currently a very relevant and developing topic and appears to be especially advantageous in terms of sustainable production. An important aspect of the sustainability assessment is the energy efficiency of the [...] Read more.
The technology used for the 3D printing of buildings from concrete is currently a very relevant and developing topic and appears to be especially advantageous in terms of sustainable production. An important aspect of the sustainability assessment is the energy efficiency of the printing robots. Printing robots consume a significant amount of energy when printing. It is important to analyse this energy thoroughly and to be able to predict it in order to optimise the movement and control of printing robots to reduce energy consumption. In that paper, we analyse in detail the energy consumption of printing robots, which has not yet been thoroughly investigated in the context of 3D printing building applications. We present a methodology to develop an energy consumption model for a printing robot, specifically developed and optimized for this technology. Our methodology incorporates an innovative approach to determine reduced-efficiency maps, allowing for the inclusion of difficult-to-measure drive efficiency parameters in the model. This results in a comprehensive model of the energy consumption of the printing robot, reflecting its operating characteristics in a real-world environment. An open control system of the printing robot is used for the measurement of energy quantities, and specially developed software tools are introduced. We also present the first direct comparison of the energy consumption of different printing robots when following a uniform printing trajectory. The comparison is made based on the presented methodology to obtain and compare actual energy data from workplaces with printing robots. The methodology combines measured data with energy simulations from ABB RobotStudio, enabling energy comparisons between industrially articulated robots and real printing robots, including the ABB IRB4600, the gantry printing robot, and the printing robot. The experiments clearly demonstrate that the kinematic structure of printing robots significantly affects their energy consumption in 3D printing concrete. Based on the conducted methodologies and analyses, we identify key aspects of energy consumption of printing robots in 3D Construction Printing or 3D Concrete Printing (3DCP) technology. In doing so, we bring a new perspective and provide a basis for further research and development in this previously understudied area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Industrial Robots and Automation)
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28 pages, 27240 KiB  
Article
PARTS—A 2D Self-Reconfigurable Programmable Mechanical Structure
by Michael Gerbl, Michael Pieber, Emanuel Ulrich and Johannes Gerstmayr
Robotics 2024, 13(5), 77; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics13050077 - 14 May 2024
Viewed by 1055
Abstract
Modular self-reconfigurable robots hold the promise of being capable of performing a wide variety of tasks. However, many systems fall short of either delivering this promised functionality due to constraints in system architecture or validating it on functional hardware prototypes. This paper demonstrates [...] Read more.
Modular self-reconfigurable robots hold the promise of being capable of performing a wide variety of tasks. However, many systems fall short of either delivering this promised functionality due to constraints in system architecture or validating it on functional hardware prototypes. This paper demonstrates the functional capabilities of the Planar Adaptive Robot with Triangular Structure (PARTS) and documents the versatility of this robot system using a holistic approach that combines simulations and hardware demonstrations on a prototype with nine fabricated modules. PARTS is a two-dimensional modular robot consisting of modules with a shape-shifting triangular geometry capable of forming adaptable space-covering structures. Meta-modules and mesh restructuring techniques are presented as methods for achieving topological self-reconfiguration. The feasibility of these methods is demonstrated by applying them on a simulated reconfiguration example of 62 modules. The paper showcases the versatility of PARTS on the hardware prototype using task-specific configurations, including locomotion using a meta-module and a walker configuration, module-module interaction by establishing a bridge between two separated module clusters, and interaction with the environment using a gripper and supporting structure configuration. The results validate the versatility and emphasize the potential of the system’s design concept, motivating the transfer of the hardware architecture to the third dimension. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Intelligent Robots and Mechatronics)
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16 pages, 23035 KiB  
Article
Porcospino Flex: A Bio-Inspired Single-Track Robot with a 3D-Printed, Flexible, Compliant Vertebral Column
by Shahab Edin Nodehi, Luca Bruzzone, Mohammadreza Lalegani Dezaki, Ali Zolfagharian and Mahdi Bodaghi
Robotics 2024, 13(5), 76; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics13050076 - 13 May 2024
Viewed by 795
Abstract
This paper is focused on the design and development of the Porcospino Flex, a single-track robot inspired by nature and featuring a meta-material structure. In the earlier version of the Porcospino, the main body was composed of a chain of vertebrae and two [...] Read more.
This paper is focused on the design and development of the Porcospino Flex, a single-track robot inspired by nature and featuring a meta-material structure. In the earlier version of the Porcospino, the main body was composed of a chain of vertebrae and two end sections linked by flexible joints, but the excessive use of materials in 3D printing and the resulting weight of the robot posed challenges, ultimately leading to a decrease in its overall efficiency and performance. The Porcospino Flex is manufactured through the fused deposition modeling process using acrylonitrile butadiene styrene and thermoplastic polyurethane, featuring a singular meta-material structure vertebral column. The adoption of a lattice structure in the main body of the Porcospino Flex leads to a substantial increase in performance, reducing its weight from 4200 g to 3600 g. Furthermore, the decrease in weight leads to a reduction in material usage and waste, making a substantial contribution to the sustainability of the robot. The discussion focuses on the testing results of the Porcospino Flex prototype, highlighting the enhancements observed compared to its prior version. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bio-Inspired Service Robots)
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22 pages, 7382 KiB  
Article
Multi-Robot Task Planning for Efficient Battery Disassembly in Electric Vehicles
by Cansu Erdogan, Cesar Alan Contreras, Rustam Stolkin and Alireza Rastegarpanah
Robotics 2024, 13(5), 75; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics13050075 - 11 May 2024
Viewed by 714
Abstract
With the surging interest in electric vehicles (EVs), there is a need for advancements in the development and dismantling of lithium-ion batteries (LIBs), which are highly important for the circular economy. This paper introduces an intelligent hybrid task planner designed for multi-robot disassembly [...] Read more.
With the surging interest in electric vehicles (EVs), there is a need for advancements in the development and dismantling of lithium-ion batteries (LIBs), which are highly important for the circular economy. This paper introduces an intelligent hybrid task planner designed for multi-robot disassembly and demonstrates its application to an EV lithium-ion battery pack. The objective is to enable multiple robots to operate collaboratively in a single workspace to execute battery disassembly tasks efficiently and without collisions. This approach can be generalized to almost any disassembly task. The planner uses logical and hierarchical strategies to identify object locations from data captured by cameras mounted on each robot’s end-effector, orchestrating coordinated pick-and-place operations. The efficacy of this task planner was assessed through simulations with three trajectory-planning algorithms: RRT, RRTConnect, and RRTStar. Performance evaluations focused on completion times for battery disassembly tasks. The results showed that completion times were similar across the planners, with 543.06 s for RRT, 541.89 s for RRTConnect, and 547.27 s for RRTStar, illustrating that the effectiveness of the task planner is independent of the specific joint-trajectory-planning algorithm used. This demonstrates the planner’s capability to effectively manage multi-robot disassembly operations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multi-robot Systems: State of the Art and Future Progress)
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31 pages, 16876 KiB  
Article
Automated Grasp Planning and Finger Design Space Search Using Multiple Grasp Quality Measures
by Roshan Kumar Hota, Gaoyuan Liu, Bieke Decraemer, Barry Swevels, Sofie Burggraeve, Tom Verstraten, Bram Vanderborght and Greet Van de Perre
Robotics 2024, 13(5), 74; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics13050074 - 9 May 2024
Viewed by 458
Abstract
As the industry shifts to automated manufacturing and the assembly of parts in smaller batches, there is a clear need for an efficient design of grippers. This paper presents a method for automated grasp planning and finger design for multiple parts using four [...] Read more.
As the industry shifts to automated manufacturing and the assembly of parts in smaller batches, there is a clear need for an efficient design of grippers. This paper presents a method for automated grasp planning and finger design for multiple parts using four grasp quality measures that capture the following important requirements for grasping: (i) uniform contact force distribution; (ii) better gravity wrench resistance; (iii) robustness against gripper positioning error; and (iv) ability to resist larger external wrench on the object. We introduce the fingertip score to quantify the grasp performance of a fingertip design over all the objects. The method takes the CAD model of the objects as the input and outputs the optimal grasp location and the best finger design. We use the method for a three-point grasp with a parallel jaw gripper. We validate our method on two sets of objects. Results show how each grasp quality measure behaves on different objects and the variation in the fingertip score with finger design. Finally, we test the effectiveness of the optimal finger design experimentally. The three-point grasp is suitable for grasping objects larger than is possible with shape-matching fingertips. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Grasping and Motion Control Solutions)
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26 pages, 18416 KiB  
Article
An Aerial Robotic Missing-Person Search in Urban Settings—A Probabilistic Approach
by Cameron Haigh, Goldie Nejat and Beno Benhabib
Robotics 2024, 13(5), 73; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics13050073 - 9 May 2024
Viewed by 524
Abstract
Autonomous robotic teams have been proposed for a variety of lost-person searches in wilderness and urban settings. In the latter scenarios, for missing persons, the application of such teams, however, is more challenging than it would be in the wilderness. This paper, specifically, [...] Read more.
Autonomous robotic teams have been proposed for a variety of lost-person searches in wilderness and urban settings. In the latter scenarios, for missing persons, the application of such teams, however, is more challenging than it would be in the wilderness. This paper, specifically, examines the application of an autonomous team of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to perform a sparse, mobile-target search in an urban setting. A novel multi-UAV search-trajectory planning method, which relies on the prediction of the missing-person’s motion, given a known map of the search environment, is the primary focus. The proposed method incorporates periodic updates of the estimates of where the lost/missing person may be, allowing for intelligent re-coverage of previously searched areas. Additional significant contributions of this work include a behavior-based motion-prediction method for missing persons and a novel non-parametric estimator for iso-probability-based (missing-person-location) curves. Simulated experiments are presented to illustrate the effectiveness of the proposed search-planning method, demonstrating higher rates of missing-person detection and in shorter times compared to other methods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue UAV Systems and Swarm Robotics)
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20 pages, 19378 KiB  
Article
Necessary Conditions for Running through a Flange by Using Planetary-Geared Magnetic Wheels
by Masaru Tanida, Kosuke Ono, Takehiro Shiba and Yogo Takada
Robotics 2024, 13(5), 72; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics13050072 - 8 May 2024
Viewed by 543
Abstract
To discuss and consider the necessary conditions for magnetic-wheeled robots with planetary-geared magnetic wheels, this paper provides comparing static calculations about three orientations in running a flange with real experiments. SCPREM-I, a magnetic-wheeled robot, was developed for running through a flange from the [...] Read more.
To discuss and consider the necessary conditions for magnetic-wheeled robots with planetary-geared magnetic wheels, this paper provides comparing static calculations about three orientations in running a flange with real experiments. SCPREM-I, a magnetic-wheeled robot, was developed for running through a flange from the bottom to the top. This robot has four magnetic wheels with a built-in planetary gearset. In experiments, however, the robot sometimes fails to run through a flange in three orientations. In this study, we statically analyze SCPREM-I to find the conditions necessary for running through the flange. We calculate the forces around the front and rear wheels in the three orientations. As a result, it has been found that the chassis of the SCPREM-I applies a forward force to the wheels when it runs through the flange. In addition, it has been found that the normal force of the A-Legs is balancing with the driving force of the wheels when the SCPREM-I fails to run through the flange. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Intelligent Robots and Mechatronics)
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21 pages, 7906 KiB  
Article
Visual Servoing Architecture of Mobile Manipulators for Precise Industrial Operations on Moving Objects
by Javier González Huarte and Aitor Ibarguren
Robotics 2024, 13(5), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics13050071 - 2 May 2024
Viewed by 915
Abstract
Although the use of articulated robots and AGVs is common in many industrial sectors such as automotive or aeronautics, the use of mobile manipulators is not widespread nowadays. Even so, the majority of applications separate the navigation and manipulation tasks, avoiding simultaneous movements [...] Read more.
Although the use of articulated robots and AGVs is common in many industrial sectors such as automotive or aeronautics, the use of mobile manipulators is not widespread nowadays. Even so, the majority of applications separate the navigation and manipulation tasks, avoiding simultaneous movements of the platform and arm. The capability to use mobile manipulators to perform operations on moving objects would open the door to new applications such as the riveting or screwing of parts transported by conveyor belts or AGVs. This paper presents a novel position-based visual servoing (PBVS) architecture for mobile manipulators for precise industrial operations on moving parts. The proposed architecture includes a state machine to guide the process through the different phases of the task to ensure its correct execution. The approach has been validated in an industrial environment for screw-fastening operations, obtaining promising results and metrics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrating Robotics into High-Accuracy Industrial Operations)
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2 pages, 143 KiB  
Editorial
Special Issue Kinematics and Robot Design VI, KaRD2023
by Raffaele Di Gregorio
Robotics 2024, 13(5), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics13050070 - 1 May 2024
Viewed by 566
Abstract
What would our concept of life be without motion [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Kinematics and Robot Design VI, KaRD2023)
40 pages, 2803 KiB  
Review
Radiological Crossroads: Navigating the Intersection of Virtual Reality and Digital Radiology through a Comprehensive Narrative Review of Reviews
by Andrea Lastrucci and Daniele Giansanti
Robotics 2024, 13(5), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics13050069 - 30 Apr 2024
Viewed by 744
Abstract
The integration of Virtual Reality with radiology is the focus of this study. A narrative review has been proposed to delve into emerging themes within the integration of Virtual Reality in radiology by scrutinizing reviews gathered from PubMed and Scopus. The proposed approach [...] Read more.
The integration of Virtual Reality with radiology is the focus of this study. A narrative review has been proposed to delve into emerging themes within the integration of Virtual Reality in radiology by scrutinizing reviews gathered from PubMed and Scopus. The proposed approach was based on a standard narrative checklist and a qualification process. The selection process identified 20 review studies. Integration of Virtual Reality (VR) in radiology offers potential transformative opportunities also integrated with other emerging technologies. In medical education, VR and AR, using 3D images from radiology, can enhance learning, emphasizing the need for standardized integration. In radiology, VR combined with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality (AR) shows promising prospectives to give a complimentary contribution to diagnosis, treatment planning, and education. Challenges in clinical integration and User Interface design must be addressed. Innovations in medical education, like 3D modeling and AI, has the potential to enable personalized learning, but face standardization challenges. While robotics play a minor role, advancements and potential perspectives are observed in neurosurgery and endovascular systems. Ongoing research and standardization efforts are crucial for maximizing the potential of these integrative technologies in healthcare. In conclusion, the synthesis of these findings underscores the opportunities for advancements in digital radiology and healthcare through the integration of VR. However, challenges exist, and continuous research, coupled with technological refinements, is imperative to unlock the full potential of these integrative approaches in the dynamic and evolving field of medical imaging. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Robots and Artificial Intelligence for a Better Future of Health Care)
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20 pages, 2340 KiB  
Article
Comparative Analysis of Generic and Fine-Tuned Large Language Models for Conversational Agent Systems
by Laura Villa, David Carneros-Prado, Cosmin C. Dobrescu, Adrián Sánchez-Miguel, Guillermo Cubero and Ramón Hervás
Robotics 2024, 13(5), 68; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics13050068 - 29 Apr 2024
Viewed by 862
Abstract
In the rapidly evolving domain of conversational agents, the integration of Large Language Models (LLMs) into Chatbot Development Platforms (CDPs) is a significant innovation. This study compares the efficacy of employing generic and fine-tuned GPT-3.5-turbo models for designing dialog flows, focusing on the [...] Read more.
In the rapidly evolving domain of conversational agents, the integration of Large Language Models (LLMs) into Chatbot Development Platforms (CDPs) is a significant innovation. This study compares the efficacy of employing generic and fine-tuned GPT-3.5-turbo models for designing dialog flows, focusing on the intent and entity recognition crucial for dynamic conversational interactions. Two distinct approaches are introduced: a generic GPT-based system (G-GPT) leveraging the pre-trained model with complex prompts for intent and entity detection, and a fine-tuned GPT-based system (FT-GPT) employing customized models for enhanced specificity and efficiency. The evaluation encompassed the systems’ ability to accurately classify intents and recognize named entities, contrasting their adaptability, operational efficiency, and customization capabilities. The results revealed that, while the G-GPT system offers ease of deployment and versatility across various contexts, the FT-GPT system demonstrates superior precision, efficiency, and customization, although it requires initial training and dataset preparation. This research highlights the versatility of LLMs in enriching conversational features for talking assistants, from social robots to interactive chatbots. By tailoring these advanced models, the fluidity and responsiveness of conversational agents can be enhanced, making them more adaptable and effective in a variety of settings, from customer service to interactive learning environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chatbots and Talking Robots)
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33 pages, 7107 KiB  
Article
Beyond Explicit Acknowledgment: Brain Response Evidence of Human Skepticism towards Robotic Emotions
by Robin Gigandet, Maria C. Diana, Kenza Ouadada and Tatjana A. Nazir
Robotics 2024, 13(5), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics13050067 - 28 Apr 2024
Viewed by 891
Abstract
Using the N400 component of event-related brain potentials, a neurophysiological marker associated with processing incongruity, we examined brain responses to sentences spoken by a robot that had no arms or legs. Statements concerning physically impossible actions (e.g., knitting) elicit significant N400 responses, reflecting [...] Read more.
Using the N400 component of event-related brain potentials, a neurophysiological marker associated with processing incongruity, we examined brain responses to sentences spoken by a robot that had no arms or legs. Statements concerning physically impossible actions (e.g., knitting) elicit significant N400 responses, reflecting that participants perceived these statements as incongruent with the robot’s physical condition. However, this effect was attenuated for participants who indicated that the robot could have hidden limbs, indicating that expectations modify the way an agent’s utterances are interpreted. When it came to statements relating to emotional capabilities a distinct pattern was found. Although participants acknowledged that the robot could have emotions, there were significant N400 responses to statements about the robot’s emotional experiences (e.g., feeling happy). This effect was not modified by participants’ beliefs, suggesting a cognitive challenge of accepting robots as capable of experiencing emotions. Our findings thus point to a boundary in human acceptance of artificial social agents: while physical attributes may be negotiable based on expectations, emotional expressions are more difficult to establish as credible. By elucidating the cognitive mechanisms at play, our study informs the design of social robots that are capable of more effective communication to better support social connectivity and human well-being. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Robots for the Human Well-Being)
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35 pages, 4272 KiB  
Article
Optimized Decentralized Swarm Communication Algorithms for Efficient Task Allocation and Power Consumption in Swarm Robotics
by Mohamed Yasser, Omar Shalash and Ossama Ismail
Robotics 2024, 13(5), 66; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics13050066 - 26 Apr 2024
Viewed by 953
Abstract
Unanimous action to achieve specific goals is crucial for the success of a robotic swarm. This requires clearly defined roles and precise communication between the robots of a swarm. An optimized task allocation algorithm defines the mechanism and logistics of decision-making that enable [...] Read more.
Unanimous action to achieve specific goals is crucial for the success of a robotic swarm. This requires clearly defined roles and precise communication between the robots of a swarm. An optimized task allocation algorithm defines the mechanism and logistics of decision-making that enable the robotic swarm to achieve such common goals. With more nodes, the traffic of messages that are required to communicate inside the swarm relatively increases to maintain decentralization. Increased traffic eliminates real-time capabilities, which is an essential aspect of a swarm system. The aim of this research is to reduce execution time while retaining efficient power consumption rates. In this research, two novel decentralized swarm communication algorithms are proposed, namely Clustered Dynamic Task Allocation–Centralized Loop (CDTA-CL) and Clustered Dynamic Task Allocation–Dual Loop (CDTA-DL), both inspired by the Clustered Dynamic Task Allocation (CDTA) algorithm. Moreover, a simulation tool was developed to simulate different swarm-clustered communication algorithms in order to calculate the total communication time and consumed power. The results of testing the proposed CDTA-DL and CDTA-CL against the CDTA attest that the proposed algorithm consumes substantially less time. Both CDTA-DL and CDTA-CL have achieved a significant speedup of 75.976% and 54.4% over CDTA, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section AI in Robotics)
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25 pages, 34046 KiB  
Article
Learning to Execute Timed-Temporal-Logic Navigation Tasks under Input Constraints in Obstacle-Cluttered Environments
by Fotios C. Tolis, Panagiotis S. Trakas, Taxiarchis-Foivos Blounas, Christos K. Verginis and Charalampos P. Bechlioulis
Robotics 2024, 13(5), 65; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics13050065 - 26 Apr 2024
Viewed by 806
Abstract
This study focuses on addressing the problem of motion planning within workspaces cluttered with obstacles while considering temporal and input constraints. These specifications can encapsulate intricate high-level objectives involving both temporal and spatial constraints. The existing literature lacks the ability to fulfill time [...] Read more.
This study focuses on addressing the problem of motion planning within workspaces cluttered with obstacles while considering temporal and input constraints. These specifications can encapsulate intricate high-level objectives involving both temporal and spatial constraints. The existing literature lacks the ability to fulfill time specifications while simultaneously managing input-saturation constraints. The proposed approach introduces a hybrid three-component control algorithm designed to learn the safe execution of a high-level specification expressed as a timed temporal logic formula across predefined regions of interest in the workspace. The first component encompasses a motion controller enabling secure navigation within the minimum allowable time interval dictated by input constraints, facilitating the abstraction of the robot’s motion as a timed transition system between regions of interest. The second component utilizes formal verification and convex optimization techniques to derive an optimal high-level timed plan over the mentioned transition system, ensuring adherence to the agent’s specification. However, the necessary navigation times and associated costs among regions are initially unknown. Consequently, the algorithm’s third component iteratively adjusts the transition system and computes new plans as the agent navigates, acquiring updated information about required time intervals and associated navigation costs. The effectiveness of the proposed scheme is demonstrated through both simulation and experimental studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Motion Trajectory Prediction for Mobile Robots)
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