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Robotics, Volume 5, Issue 3 (September 2016) – 7 articles

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Open AccessArticle
Bio-Inspired Vision-Based Leader-Follower Formation Flying in the Presence of Delays
Robotics 2016, 5(3), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics5030018 - 18 Aug 2016
Viewed by 4073
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. [...] Read more.
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. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Estimation of Physical Human-Robot Interaction Using Cost-Effective Pneumatic Padding
Robotics 2016, 5(3), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics5030017 - 16 Aug 2016
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 4253
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Room Volume Estimation Based on Ambiguity of Short-Term Interaural Phase Differences Using Humanoid Robot Head
Robotics 2016, 5(3), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics5030016 - 21 Jul 2016
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3965
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Biomimetic Spider Leg Joints: A Review from Biomechanical Research to Compliant Robotic Actuators
Robotics 2016, 5(3), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics5030015 - 15 Jul 2016
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 8339
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
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Open AccessReview
A Survey of Wall Climbing Robots: Recent Advances and Challenges
Robotics 2016, 5(3), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics5030014 - 01 Jul 2016
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 4958
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Trajectory Generation and Stability Analysis for Reconfigurable Klann Mechanism Based Walking Robot
Robotics 2016, 5(3), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics5030013 - 30 Jun 2016
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 6358
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
IDC Robocon: A Transnational Teaming Competition for Project-Based Design Education in Undergraduate Robotics
Robotics 2016, 5(3), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics5030012 - 24 Jun 2016
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 4158
Abstract
This paper presents a robot design competition called ‘IDC Robocon’ as an effective tool for engineering education. The International Design Contest (IDC) Robocon competition has several benefits in creating a meaningful design experience for undergraduate engineering students and includes an international flavour as [...] Read more.
This paper presents a robot design competition called ‘IDC Robocon’ as an effective tool for engineering education. The International Design Contest (IDC) Robocon competition has several benefits in creating a meaningful design experience for undergraduate engineering students and includes an international flavour as participants of the competition hail from all around the world. The problem posed to the contestants is to design, build and test mobile robots that are capable of accomplishing a task. A primary goal of the competition is to provide undergraduates with a meaningful design experience with an emphasis on mechanical design, electronic circuits and programming. It is hoped that by placing the emphasis on the design, the course will encourage more undergraduates to go into the field of engineering design. This paper presents the latest 2015 IDC Robocon (the 26th edition) in detail and discusses course of events and results in terms of the educational experience. In this competition, a simulated space problem of cleaning the debris from orbit is proposed for the latest IDC Robocon competition. Teams, comprising of students from multiple countries work together to develop robotic systems to compete with each other in collecting the foam balls and delivering them to the rotating the holder. Full article
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