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Robotics, Volume 7, Issue 3 (September 2018)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Continuous advancements in the field of robotics are paving the way for a great expansion of [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle Vine-Inspired Continuum Tendril Robots and Circumnutations
Received: 15 July 2018 / Revised: 3 September 2018 / Accepted: 14 September 2018 / Published: 18 September 2018
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Abstract
Smooth-backboned “continuum” robot structures offer novel ways to create robot shapes and movements. In this paper, we show how circumnutation, a motion strategy commonly employed by plants, can be implemented and usefully exploited with continuum robots. We discuss how the kinematics of circumnutation,
[...] Read more.
Smooth-backboned “continuum” robot structures offer novel ways to create robot shapes and movements. In this paper, we show how circumnutation, a motion strategy commonly employed by plants, can be implemented and usefully exploited with continuum robots. We discuss how the kinematics of circumnutation, which combines local backbone growth with periodic backbone bending, can be created using extensible continuum robot hardware. The underlying kinematics are generated by adapting kinematic models of plant growth. We illustrate the effectiveness of that approach with experimental results with a tendril-like robot exploring a congested environment. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Maximal Singularity-Free Orientation Subregions Associated with Initial Parallel Manipulator Configuration
Received: 16 July 2018 / Revised: 10 September 2018 / Accepted: 11 September 2018 / Published: 18 September 2018
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Abstract
Reduced workspace is the main parallel robot disadvantage. It is generally due to the robot configuration, mainly the platform orientation constraint, the present work intends to find the maximum sphere within the orientation workspace, i.e., the singularity-free orientation regions. These regions are related
[...] Read more.
Reduced workspace is the main parallel robot disadvantage. It is generally due to the robot configuration, mainly the platform orientation constraint, the present work intends to find the maximum sphere within the orientation workspace, i.e., the singularity-free orientation regions. These regions are related to the platform orientation through Roll-Pitch-Yaw angles. Therefore, an optimization genetic algorithm is used to determine the initial platform orientation corresponding to the largest sphere volume. In this algorithm, the geometrical parameters and the direct and inverse singularities are the optimization constraints. The geometrical constraints may be studied using vectorial analysis. The reciprocity property from screw theory is implemented to analyze the direct and inverse kinematic. In this work it is used a methodology to verify the singularity closeness measure associated with direct kinematic. This measure is related to the rate of work done by each leg upon the platform twist. To determine how close is the parallel robot to a direct singularity a index value is proposed. It is considered that the passive joints reachable regions may be limited by a cone, whereby the cone symmetric axis is the same than the passive joint axis. In the optimization problem, the sphere volume, i.e., the maximal angular displacement of the moving platform around any axis is the objective function. Thus, the genetic algorithm individuals explore all feasible regions looking for an optimal solution. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Human-Robot Interfaces for Interactive Receptionist Systems and Wayfinding Applications
Received: 26 July 2018 / Revised: 11 September 2018 / Accepted: 14 September 2018 / Published: 16 September 2018
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Abstract
Service robots are playing an increasingly relevant role in society. Humanoid robots, especially those equipped with social skills, could be used to address a number of people’s daily needs. Knowing how these robots are perceived and potentially accepted by ordinary users when used
[...] Read more.
Service robots are playing an increasingly relevant role in society. Humanoid robots, especially those equipped with social skills, could be used to address a number of people’s daily needs. Knowing how these robots are perceived and potentially accepted by ordinary users when used in common tasks and what the benefits brought are in terms, e.g., of tasks’ effectiveness, is becoming of primary importance. This paper specifically focuses on receptionist scenarios, which can be regarded as a good benchmark for social robotics applications given their implications on human-robot interaction. Precisely, the goal of this paper is to investigate how robots used as direction-giving systems can be perceived by human users and can impact on their wayfinding performance. A comparative analysis is performed, considering both solutions from the literature and new implementations which use different types of interfaces to ask for and give directions (voice, in-the-air arm pointing gestures, route tracing) and various embodiments (physical robot, virtual agent, interactive audio-map). Experimental results showed a marked preference for a physical robot-based system showing directions on a map over solutions using gestures, as well as a positive effect of embodiment and social behaviors. Moreover, in the comparison, physical robots were generally preferred to virtual agents. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Performance-Based Design of the CRS-RRC Schoenflies-Motion Generator
Received: 22 July 2018 / Revised: 8 September 2018 / Accepted: 10 September 2018 / Published: 15 September 2018
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Abstract
Rigid-body displacements obtained by combining spatial translations and rotations around axes whose direction is fixed in the space are named Shoenflies’ motions. They constitute a 4-dimensional (4-D) subgroup, named Shoenflies’ subgroup, of the 6-D displacement group. Since the set of rotation-axis’ directions is
[...] Read more.
Rigid-body displacements obtained by combining spatial translations and rotations around axes whose direction is fixed in the space are named Shoenflies’ motions. They constitute a 4-dimensional (4-D) subgroup, named Shoenflies’ subgroup, of the 6-D displacement group. Since the set of rotation-axis’ directions is a bi-dimensional space, the set of Shoenflies’ subgroups is a bi-dimensional space, too. Many industrial manipulations (e.g., pick-and-place on a conveyor belt) require displacements that belong to only one Schoenflies’ subgroup and can be accomplished by particular 4-degrees-of-freedom (4-DOF) manipulators (Shoenflies-motion generators (SMGs)). The first author has recently proposed a novel parallel SMG of type CRS-RRC1. Such SMG features a single-loop architecture with actuators on the base and a simple decoupled kinematics. Here, firstly, an organic review of the previous results on this SMG is presented; then, its design is addressed by considering its kinetostatic performances. The adopted design procedure optimizes two objective functions, one (global conditioning index (GCI)) that measures the global performance and the other (CImin) that evaluates the worst local performance in the useful workspace. The results of this optimization procedure are the geometric parameters’ values that make the studied SMG have performances comparable with those of commercial SMGs. In addition, a realistic 3D model that solves all the manufacturing doubts with simple and cheap solutions is presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Kinematics and Robot Design Ⅰ)
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Open AccessArticle The Development of Highly Flexible Stretch Sensors for a Robotic Hand
Received: 3 August 2018 / Revised: 7 September 2018 / Accepted: 8 September 2018 / Published: 11 September 2018
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Abstract
Demand for highly compliant mechanical sensors for use in the fields of robotics and wearable electronics has been constantly rising in recent times. Carbon based materials, and especially, carbon nanotubes, have been widely studied as a candidate piezoresistive sensing medium in these devices
[...] Read more.
Demand for highly compliant mechanical sensors for use in the fields of robotics and wearable electronics has been constantly rising in recent times. Carbon based materials, and especially, carbon nanotubes, have been widely studied as a candidate piezoresistive sensing medium in these devices due to their favorable structural morphology. In this paper three different carbon based materials, namely carbon black, graphene nano-platelets, and multi-walled carbon nanotubes, were utilized as large stretch sensors capable of measuring stretches over 250%. These stretch sensors can be used in robotic hands/arms to determine the angular position of joints. Analysis was also carried out to understand the effect of the morphologies of the carbon particles on the electromechanical response of the sensors. Sensors with gauge factors ranging from one to 1.75 for strain up to 200% were obtained. Among these sensors, the stretch sensors with carbon black/silicone composite were found to have the highest gauge factor while demonstrating acceptable hysteresis in most robotic hand applications. The highly flexible stretch sensors demonstrated in this work show high levels of compliance and conformance making them ideal candidates as sensors for soft robotics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers)
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Open AccessArticle Analytical Method for Determination of Internal Forces of Mechanisms and Manipulators
Received: 4 July 2018 / Revised: 16 August 2018 / Accepted: 17 August 2018 / Published: 10 September 2018
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Abstract
This paper presents a theory for the analytical determination of internal forces in the links of planar linkage mechanisms and manipulators with statically determinate structures, considering the distributed dynamic loads. Linkage mechanisms and manipulators were divided into elements and joints. Discrete models were
[...] Read more.
This paper presents a theory for the analytical determination of internal forces in the links of planar linkage mechanisms and manipulators with statically determinate structures, considering the distributed dynamic loads. Linkage mechanisms and manipulators were divided into elements and joints. Discrete models were created for both the elements and the entire mechanism. The dynamic equations of equilibrium for the discrete model of the elements and the hinged and rigid joints, under the action of longitudinal and transverse distributed dynamic trapezoidal loads, were derived. In the dynamic equations of the equilibrium of the discrete model of the elements and joints, the connections between the components of the force vector in the calculated cross-sections and the geometric, physical, and kinematic characteristics of the element were established for its plane-parallel motion. According to the developed technique, programs were created in the Maple system, and animations of the motion of the mechanisms were produced. The links were constructed with the intensity of transverse- and longitudinal-distributed dynamic loads, bending moments, and shearing and normal forces, depending on the kinematic characteristics of the links. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Locomotion of a Cylindrical Rolling Robot with a Shape Changing Outer Surface
Received: 27 July 2018 / Revised: 28 August 2018 / Accepted: 30 August 2018 / Published: 10 September 2018
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Abstract
A cylindrical rolling robot is developed that generates roll torque by changing the shape of its flexible, elliptical outer surface whenever one of four elliptical axes rotates past an inclination called trigger angle. The robot is equipped with a sensing/control system by which
[...] Read more.
A cylindrical rolling robot is developed that generates roll torque by changing the shape of its flexible, elliptical outer surface whenever one of four elliptical axes rotates past an inclination called trigger angle. The robot is equipped with a sensing/control system by which it measures angular position and angular velocity, and computes error with respect to a desired step angular velocity profile. When shape change is triggered, the newly assumed shape of the outer surface is determined according to the computed error. A series of trial rolls is conducted using various trigger angles, and energy consumed by the actuation motor per unit roll distance is measured. Results show that, for each of three desired velocity profiles investigated, there exists a range of trigger angles that results in relatively low energy consumption per unit roll distance, and when the robot operates within this optimal trigger angle range, it undergoes minimal actuation burdening and inadvertent braking, both of which are inherent to the mechanics of rolling robots that use shape change to generate roll torque. A mathematical model of motion is developed and applied in a simulation program that can be used to predict and further understand behavior of the robot. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanism Design for Robotics)
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Open AccessArticle Reconfiguration Analysis of an RRRRS Single-Loop Mechanism
Received: 29 June 2018 / Revised: 30 August 2018 / Accepted: 6 September 2018 / Published: 9 September 2018
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Abstract
The paper deals with the reconfiguration analysis of the single-loop variable degree-of-freedom (DOF) RRRRS mechanism composed of five links connected by four revolute (R) joints and one spherical (S) joint. The mechanism may show two modes of motion: one-DOF and two-DOF motion. In
[...] Read more.
The paper deals with the reconfiguration analysis of the single-loop variable degree-of-freedom (DOF) RRRRS mechanism composed of five links connected by four revolute (R) joints and one spherical (S) joint. The mechanism may show two modes of motion: one-DOF and two-DOF motion. In the paper, a classical vector procedure is used to obtain the quartic motion equation (QME) that allows one to inspect the nature of the motion. In general, the solutions of the QME provide the one-DOF motion of the mechanism except when all the coefficients of the equation vanish. In this case, the mechanism undergoes the two-DOF motion. The motion of the mechanism built according to two specific architectures was analyzed by the numerical solutions of the QME and with the help of the solid model of the mechanism. It is revealed for the first time that the perpendicular architecture has one 2-DOF motion and two 1-DOF motion modes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle She’s Electric—The Influence of Body Proportions on Perceived Gender of Robots across Cultures
Received: 15 August 2018 / Revised: 3 September 2018 / Accepted: 3 September 2018 / Published: 5 September 2018
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Abstract
The assignment of gender to robots is a debatable topic. Subtle aspects related to gender, in a robot’s appearance, may create biased expectations of the robot’s abilities and influence user acceptance. The present research is a cross-cultural study involving more than 150 participants
[...] Read more.
The assignment of gender to robots is a debatable topic. Subtle aspects related to gender, in a robot’s appearance, may create biased expectations of the robot’s abilities and influence user acceptance. The present research is a cross-cultural study involving more than 150 participants to investigate the perception of gender in robot design by manipulating body proportions. We are focusing specifically on the contrast between two extremely different cultures: Peruvian and Japanese. From the survey based on stimuli varying in the proportion between chest, waist, and hips, the results indicate the importance of chest-to-hip ratio and waist-to-hip ratio in the attribution of gender to robots. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Love and Sex with Robot)
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Open AccessArticle 3D Printed End of Arm Tooling (EOAT) for Robotic Automation
Received: 11 July 2018 / Revised: 27 August 2018 / Accepted: 4 September 2018 / Published: 5 September 2018
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This research furthers the practice of designing and manufacturing End of Arm Tooling (EOAT) by utilizing a low cost additive manufacturing Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) technique to enable tool weight saving and provision of low cost EOATs on demand, thereby facilitating zero inventory
[...] Read more.
This research furthers the practice of designing and manufacturing End of Arm Tooling (EOAT) by utilizing a low cost additive manufacturing Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) technique to enable tool weight saving and provision of low cost EOATs on demand, thereby facilitating zero inventory lean manufacturing. The materials used in this research for the fabrication of the EOAT parts were Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and nylon with infill densities of 20% and 100%. Three-point flexural tests were performed to determine the differences in strength and stiffness between varying polymers, infill ratios, and a standard metal part. Additionally, potential weight savings were identified and challenges with utilizing low cost FFF technologies are outlined. A motion of programmed trajectories was executed utilizing a standard 6-axis robot and the power consumption was evaluated. This study demonstrates the utility of using thermoplastic material with the fabrication of 3D printed parts used in EOATs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Stability and Gait Planning of 3-UPU Hexapod Walking Robot
Received: 26 July 2018 / Revised: 17 August 2018 / Accepted: 29 August 2018 / Published: 31 August 2018
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Abstract
The paper presents an innovative hexapod walking robot built with 3-UPU parallel mechanism. In the robot, the parallel mechanism is used as both an actuator to generate walking and also a connecting body to connect two groups of three legs, thus enabling the
[...] Read more.
The paper presents an innovative hexapod walking robot built with 3-UPU parallel mechanism. In the robot, the parallel mechanism is used as both an actuator to generate walking and also a connecting body to connect two groups of three legs, thus enabling the robot to walk with simple gait by very few motors. In this paper, forward and inverse kinematics solutions are obtained. The workspace of the parallel mechanism is analyzed using limit boundary search method. The walking stability of the robot is analyzed, which yields the robot’s maximum step length. The gait planning of the hexapod walking robot is studied for walking on both flat and uneven terrains. The new robot, combining the advantages of parallel robot and walking robot, has a large carrying capacity, strong passing ability, flexible turning ability, and simple gait control for its deployment for uneven terrains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanism Design for Robotics)
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Open AccessReview A Comprehensive Survey of Recent Trends in Cloud Robotics Architectures and Applications
Received: 29 May 2018 / Revised: 9 August 2018 / Accepted: 17 August 2018 / Published: 30 August 2018
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Abstract
Cloud robotics has recently emerged as a collaborative technology between cloud computing and service robotics enabled through progress in wireless networking, large scale storage and communication technologies, and the ubiquitous presence of Internet resources over recent years. Cloud computing empowers robots by offering
[...] Read more.
Cloud robotics has recently emerged as a collaborative technology between cloud computing and service robotics enabled through progress in wireless networking, large scale storage and communication technologies, and the ubiquitous presence of Internet resources over recent years. Cloud computing empowers robots by offering them faster and more powerful computational capabilities through massively parallel computation and higher data storage facilities. It also offers access to open-source, big datasets and software, cooperative learning capabilities through knowledge sharing, and human knowledge through crowdsourcing. The recent progress in cloud robotics has led to active research in this area spanning from the development of cloud robotics architectures to its varied applications in different domains. In this survey paper, we review the recent works in the area of cloud robotics technologies as well as its applications. We draw insights about the current trends in cloud robotics and discuss the challenges and limitations in the current literature, open research questions and future research directions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cloud Robotics)
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Open AccessArticle User Evaluation of the Neurodildo: A Mind-Controlled Sex Toy for People with Disabilities and an Exploration of Its Applications to Sex Robots
Received: 15 June 2018 / Revised: 10 August 2018 / Accepted: 10 August 2018 / Published: 20 August 2018
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Abstract
In this paper, we present the Neurodildo, a sex toy remotely controlled by brain waves, which is pressure sensitive and has electrical stimulation (e-stim) feedback. The Neurodildo was originally presented as a conference paper at the 3rd International Congress on Love and Sex
[...] Read more.
In this paper, we present the Neurodildo, a sex toy remotely controlled by brain waves, which is pressure sensitive and has electrical stimulation (e-stim) feedback. The Neurodildo was originally presented as a conference paper at the 3rd International Congress on Love and Sex with Robots (2017). We designed and explored the application of a mind-controlled sex toy for the people with mobility disabilities, for example with spinal cord injury (SCI), who have difficulty handling a commercial toy and that might experience difficulties in a sexual encounter. The system consists of the sex toy with Bluetooth and sensors, the brain-computer interface (BCI) headset, the e-stim device, and a computer for running the necessary software. The first user wears the headset and the e-stim device, and by focusing in trained patterns, he/she can control the vibration of the sex toy. The pressure applied to the sex toy by the second user is measured by sensors and transmitted and converted to the first user, who feels muscle contractions. We discuss the design process, the limitations of the prototype and how evaluating the user requirements is necessary for a better product. We also included a background and discussion on the application of sex robots for assisting disabled people and how the Neurodildo could be integrated with this futuristic technology. The goal of this project is to design a sex toy that might help people with disabilities and people in long-distance relationships (LDR), trying to fill the gap of sex toys designed for people with disabilities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Love and Sex with Robot)
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Open AccessReview A Review of Visual-Inertial Simultaneous Localization and Mapping from Filtering-Based and Optimization-Based Perspectives
Received: 6 July 2018 / Revised: 4 August 2018 / Accepted: 10 August 2018 / Published: 15 August 2018
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Abstract
Visual-inertial simultaneous localization and mapping (VI-SLAM) is popular research topic in robotics. Because of its advantages in terms of robustness, VI-SLAM enjoys wide applications in the field of localization and mapping, including in mobile robotics, self-driving cars, unmanned aerial vehicles, and autonomous underwater
[...] Read more.
Visual-inertial simultaneous localization and mapping (VI-SLAM) is popular research topic in robotics. Because of its advantages in terms of robustness, VI-SLAM enjoys wide applications in the field of localization and mapping, including in mobile robotics, self-driving cars, unmanned aerial vehicles, and autonomous underwater vehicles. This study provides a comprehensive survey on VI-SLAM. Following a short introduction, this study is the first to review VI-SLAM techniques from filtering-based and optimization-based perspectives. It summarizes state-of-the-art studies over the last 10 years based on the back-end approach, camera type, and sensor fusion type. Key VI-SLAM technologies are also introduced such as feature extraction and tracking, core theory, and loop closure. The performance of representative VI-SLAM methods and famous VI-SLAM datasets are also surveyed. Finally, this study contributes to the comparison of filtering-based and optimization-based methods through experiments. A comparative study of VI-SLAM methods helps understand the differences in their operating principles. Optimization-based methods achieve excellent localization accuracy and lower memory utilization, while filtering-based methods have advantages in terms of computing resources. Furthermore, this study proposes future development trends and research directions for VI-SLAM. It provides a detailed survey of VI-SLAM techniques and can serve as a brief guide to newcomers in the field of SLAM and experienced researchers looking for possible directions for future work. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Me, My Bot and His Other (Robot) Woman? Keeping Your Robot Satisfied in the Age of Artificial Emotion
Received: 14 June 2018 / Revised: 10 August 2018 / Accepted: 10 August 2018 / Published: 15 August 2018
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Abstract
With a backdrop of action and science fiction movie horrors of the dystopian relationship between humans and robots, surprisingly to date-with the exception of ethical discussions-the relationship aspect of humans and sex robots has seemed relatively unproblematic. The attraction to sex robots perhaps
[...] Read more.
With a backdrop of action and science fiction movie horrors of the dystopian relationship between humans and robots, surprisingly to date-with the exception of ethical discussions-the relationship aspect of humans and sex robots has seemed relatively unproblematic. The attraction to sex robots perhaps is the promise of unproblematic affectionate and sexual interactions, without the need to consider the other’s (the robot’s) emotions and indeed preference of sexual partners. Yet, with rapid advancements in information technology and robotics, particularly in relation to artificial intelligence and indeed, artificial emotions, there almost seems the likelihood, that sometime in the future, robots too, may love others in return. Who those others are-whether human or robot-is to be speculated. As with the laws of emotion, and particularly that of the cognitive-emotional theory on Appraisal, a reality in which robots experience their own emotions, may not be as rosy as would be expected. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Love and Sex with Robot)
Open AccessArticle Metrological Characterization of a Vision-Based System for Relative Pose Measurements with Fiducial Marker Mapping for Spacecrafts
Received: 13 June 2018 / Revised: 2 August 2018 / Accepted: 6 August 2018 / Published: 14 August 2018
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An improved approach for the measurement of the relative pose between a target and a chaser spacecraft is presented. The selected method is based on a single camera, which can be mounted on the chaser, and a plurality of fiducial markers, which can
[...] Read more.
An improved approach for the measurement of the relative pose between a target and a chaser spacecraft is presented. The selected method is based on a single camera, which can be mounted on the chaser, and a plurality of fiducial markers, which can be mounted on the external surface of the target. The measurement procedure comprises of a closed-form solution of the Perspective from n Points (PnP) problem, a RANdom SAmple Consensus (RANSAC) procedure, a non-linear local optimization and a global Bundle Adjustment refinement of the marker map and relative poses. A metrological characterization of the measurement system is performed using an experimental set-up that can impose rotations combined with a linear translation and can measure them. The rotation and position measurement errors are calculated with reference instrumentations and their uncertainties are evaluated by the Monte Carlo method. The experimental laboratory tests highlight the significant improvements provided by the Bundle Adjustment refinement. Moreover, a set of possible influencing physical parameters are defined and their correlations with the rotation and position errors and uncertainties are analyzed. Using both numerical quantitative correlation coefficients and qualitative graphical representations, the most significant parameters for the final measurement errors and uncertainties are determined. The obtained results give clear indications and advice for the design of future measurement systems and for the selection of the marker positioning on a satellite surface. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Simultaneous Location and Mapping (SLAM) Focused on Mobile Robotics)
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Open AccessArticle Design of a Lockable Spherical Joint for a Reconfigurable 3-URU Parallel Platform
Received: 13 June 2018 / Revised: 14 July 2018 / Accepted: 30 July 2018 / Published: 2 August 2018
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This article deals with the functional and preliminary design of a reconfigurable joint for robotic applications. Such mechanism is a key element for a class of lower mobility parallel manipulators, allowing a local reconfiguration of the kinematic chain that enables a change in
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This article deals with the functional and preliminary design of a reconfigurable joint for robotic applications. Such mechanism is a key element for a class of lower mobility parallel manipulators, allowing a local reconfiguration of the kinematic chain that enables a change in platform’s mobility. The mechanism can be integrated in the kinematic structure of a 3-URU manipulator, which shall accordingly gain the ability to change mobility from pure translation to pure rotation. As a matter of fact, special kinematics conditions must be met for the accomplishment of this task. Such peculiar requirements are described and properly exploited for the design of an effective reconfigurable mechanism. A detailed description of the joint operational principle is provided, also showing how to design it when is physically located at the fixed base of the manipulator. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Kinematics and Robot Design Ⅰ)
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Open AccessArticle Viability and Feasibility of Constrained Kinematic Control of Manipulators
Received: 13 June 2018 / Revised: 20 July 2018 / Accepted: 20 July 2018 / Published: 23 July 2018
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Abstract
Recent advances in planning and control of robot manipulators make an increasing use of optimization-based techniques, such as model predictive control. In this framework, ensuring the feasibility of the online optimal control problem is a key issue. In the case of manipulators with
[...] Read more.
Recent advances in planning and control of robot manipulators make an increasing use of optimization-based techniques, such as model predictive control. In this framework, ensuring the feasibility of the online optimal control problem is a key issue. In the case of manipulators with bounded joint positions, velocities, and accelerations, feasibility can be guaranteed by limiting the set of admissible velocities and positions to a viable set. However, this results in the imposition of nonlinear optimization constraints. In this paper, we analyze the feasibility of the optimal control problem and we propose a method to construct a viable convex polyhedral that ensures feasibility of the optimal control problem by means of a given number of linear constraints. Experimental and numerical results on an industrial manipulator show the validity of the proposed approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Kinematics and Robot Design Ⅰ)
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Open AccessArticle Robust Interval Type-2 Fuzzy Sliding Mode Control Design for Robot Manipulators
Received: 26 May 2018 / Revised: 3 July 2018 / Accepted: 12 July 2018 / Published: 23 July 2018
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Abstract
This paper develops a new robust tracking control design for n-link robot manipulators with dynamic uncertainties, and unknown disturbances. The procedure is conducted by designing two adaptive interval type-2 fuzzy logic systems (AIT2-FLSs) to better approximate the parametric uncertainties on the system nominal.
[...] Read more.
This paper develops a new robust tracking control design for n-link robot manipulators with dynamic uncertainties, and unknown disturbances. The procedure is conducted by designing two adaptive interval type-2 fuzzy logic systems (AIT2-FLSs) to better approximate the parametric uncertainties on the system nominal. Then, in order to achieve the best tracking control performance and to enhance the system robustness against approximation errors and unknown disturbances, a new control algorithm, which uses a new synthesized AIT2 fuzzy sliding mode control (AIT2-FSMC) law, has been proposed. To deal with the chattering phenomenon without deteriorating the system robustness, the AIT2-FSMC has been designed so as to generate three adaptive control laws that provide the optimal gains value of the global control law. The adaptation laws have been designed in the sense of the Lyapunov stability theorem. Mathematical proof shows that the closed loop control system is globally asymptotically stable. Finally, a 2-link robot manipulator is used as case study to illustrate the effectiveness of the proposed control approach. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Fully Mechatronical Design of an HIL System for Floating Devices
Received: 22 May 2018 / Revised: 5 July 2018 / Accepted: 11 July 2018 / Published: 20 July 2018
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Abstract
Recent simulation developments in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) have widely increased the knowledge of fluid–structure interaction. This has been particularly effective in the research field of floating bodies such as offshore wind turbines and sailboats, where air and sea are involved. Nevertheless, the
[...] Read more.
Recent simulation developments in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) have widely increased the knowledge of fluid–structure interaction. This has been particularly effective in the research field of floating bodies such as offshore wind turbines and sailboats, where air and sea are involved. Nevertheless, the models used in the CFD analysis require several experimental parameters in order to be completely calibrated and capable of accurately predicting the physical behaviour of the simulated system. To make up for the lack of experimental data, usually wind tunnel and ocean basin tests are carried out. This paper presents a fully mechatronical design of an Hardware In the Loop (HIL) system capable of simulating the effects of the sea on a physical scaled model positioned in a wind tunnel. This system allows one to obtain all the required information to characterize a model subject, and at the same time to assess the effects of the interaction between wind and sea waves. The focus of this work is on a complete overview of the procedural steps to be followed in order to reach a predefined performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Kinematics and Robot Design Ⅰ)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Smart Agricultural Machine with a Computer Vision-Based Weeding and Variable-Rate Irrigation Scheme
Received: 4 June 2018 / Revised: 1 July 2018 / Accepted: 17 July 2018 / Published: 19 July 2018
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This paper proposes a scheme that combines computer vision and multi-tasking processes to develop a small-scale smart agricultural machine that can automatically weed and perform variable rate irrigation within a cultivated field. Image processing methods such as HSV (hue (H), saturation (S), value
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This paper proposes a scheme that combines computer vision and multi-tasking processes to develop a small-scale smart agricultural machine that can automatically weed and perform variable rate irrigation within a cultivated field. Image processing methods such as HSV (hue (H), saturation (S), value (V)) color conversion, estimation of thresholds during the image binary segmentation process, and morphology operator procedures are used to confirm the position of the plant and weeds, and those results are used to perform weeding and watering operations. Furthermore, the data on the wet distribution area of surface soil (WDAS) and the moisture content of the deep soil is provided to a fuzzy logic controller, which drives pumps to perform variable rate irrigation and to achieve water savings. The proposed system has been implemented in small machines and the experimental results show that the system can classify plant and weeds in real time with an average classification rate of 90% or higher. This allows the machine to do weeding and watering while maintaining the moisture content of the deep soil at 80 ± 10% and an average weeding rate of 90%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural and Field Robotics)
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Open AccessArticle Hitchhiking Based Symbiotic Multi-Robot Navigation in Sensor Networks
Received: 24 May 2018 / Revised: 20 June 2018 / Accepted: 12 July 2018 / Published: 15 July 2018
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Abstract
Robot navigation is a complex process that involves real-time localization, obstacle avoidance, map update, control, and path planning. Thus, it is also a computationally expensive process, especially in multi-robot systems. This paper presents a cooperative multi-robot navigation scheme in which a robot can
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Robot navigation is a complex process that involves real-time localization, obstacle avoidance, map update, control, and path planning. Thus, it is also a computationally expensive process, especially in multi-robot systems. This paper presents a cooperative multi-robot navigation scheme in which a robot can ‘hitchhike’ another robot, i.e., two robots going to the same (or close) destination navigate together in a leader–follower system assisted by visual servoing. Although such cooperative navigation has many benefits compared to traditional approaches with separate navigation, there are many constraints to implementing such a system. A sensor network removes those constraints by enabling multiple robots to communicate with each other to exchange meaningful information such as their respective positions, goal and destination locations, and drastically improves the efficiency of symbiotic multi-robot navigation through hitchhiking. We show that the proposed system enables efficient navigation of multi-robots without loss of information in a sensor network. Efficiency improvements in terms of reduced waiting time of the hitchhiker, not missing potential drivers, best driver-profile match, and velocity tuning are discussed. Novel algorithms for partial hitchhiking, and multi-driver hitchhiking are proposed. A novel case of hitchhiking based simultaneous multi-robot teleoperation by a single operation is also proposed. All the proposed algorithms are verified by experiments in both simulation and real environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Distributed, Ubiquitous and Multi-Agent Robotic Architectures)
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Open AccessArticle Development of an EMG-Controlled Mobile Robot
Received: 22 May 2018 / Revised: 22 June 2018 / Accepted: 26 June 2018 / Published: 5 July 2018
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Abstract
This paper presents the development of a Robot Operating System (ROS)-based mobile robot control using electromyography (EMG) signals. The proposed robot’s structure is specifically designed to provide modularity and is controlled by a Raspberry Pi 3 running on top of an ROS application
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This paper presents the development of a Robot Operating System (ROS)-based mobile robot control using electromyography (EMG) signals. The proposed robot’s structure is specifically designed to provide modularity and is controlled by a Raspberry Pi 3 running on top of an ROS application and a Teensy microcontroller. The EMG muscle commands are sent to the robot with hand gestures that are captured using a Thalmic Myo Armband and recognized using a k-Nearest Neighbour (k-NN) classifier. The robot’s performance is evaluated by navigating it through specific paths while solely controlling it through the EMG signals and using the collision avoidance approach. Thus, this paper aims to expand the research on the topic, introducing a more accurate classification system with a wider set of gestures, hoping to come closer to a usable real-life application. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Calibration of UR10 Robot Controller through Simple Auto-Tuning Approach
Received: 15 May 2018 / Revised: 2 July 2018 / Accepted: 3 July 2018 / Published: 5 July 2018
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Abstract
This paper presents a calibration approach of a manipulator robot controller using an auto-tuning technique. Since the industry requires machines to run with increasing speed and precision, an optimal controller is too demanding. Even though the robots make use of an internal controller,
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This paper presents a calibration approach of a manipulator robot controller using an auto-tuning technique. Since the industry requires machines to run with increasing speed and precision, an optimal controller is too demanding. Even though the robots make use of an internal controller, usually, this controller does not fulfill the user specification with respect to their applications. Therefore, in order to overcome the user requirements, an auto-tuning method based on a single sine test is employed to obtain the optimal parameters of the proportional–integral–derivative PID controller. This approach has been tested, validated and implemented on a UR10 robot. The experimental results revealed that the performances of the robot increased when the designed controller, using the auto-tuning technique, was employed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Omnidirectional Nonprehensile Manipulation Using Only One Actuator
Received: 1 May 2018 / Revised: 26 June 2018 / Accepted: 3 July 2018 / Published: 4 July 2018
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Abstract
This paper presents a novel nonprehensile manipulation method that uses the vibration of a plate, where the two degrees of freedom of a part on the plate are controlled by only one actuator. First, a manipulator whose end effector is a flat plate
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This paper presents a novel nonprehensile manipulation method that uses the vibration of a plate, where the two degrees of freedom of a part on the plate are controlled by only one actuator. First, a manipulator whose end effector is a flat plate is introduced. By employing an underactuated joint mechanism, the shape and orientation of the vibrational orbit of the plate vary according to frequency and offset angle of the sinusoidal displacement input to an actuator. Then, simulation analyses reveal that the manipulator can omnidirectionally induce translational velocity to the part on the plate. There exists an orthogonality between the effects of the frequency and offset angle on the velocity map of the part. Based on this characteristic, a visual feedback control for manipulating the part is designed. Finally, the proposed method is validated via experiments using a prototype manipulator. A target-trajectory tracking task and a four-way part-feeding task are demonstrated. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Validating Autofocus Algorithms with Automated Tests
Received: 27 March 2018 / Revised: 15 June 2018 / Accepted: 20 June 2018 / Published: 25 June 2018
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Abstract
For an automated camera focus, a fast and reliable algorithm is key to its success. It should work in a precisely defined way for as many cases as possible. However, there are many parameters which have to be fine-tuned for it to work
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For an automated camera focus, a fast and reliable algorithm is key to its success. It should work in a precisely defined way for as many cases as possible. However, there are many parameters which have to be fine-tuned for it to work exactly as intended. Most literature only focuses on the algorithm itself and tests it with simulations or renderings, but not in real settings. Trying to gather this data by manually placing objects in front of the camera is not feasible, as no human can perform one movement repeatedly in the same way, which makes an objective comparison impossible. We therefore used a small industrial robot with a set of over 250 combinations of movement, pattern, and zoom-states to conduct these tests. The benefit of this method was the objectivity of the data and the monitoring of the important thresholds. Our interest laid in the optimization of an existing algorithm, by showing its performance in as many benchmarks as possible. This included standard use cases and worst-case scenarios. To validate our method, we gathered data from a first run, adapted the algorithm, and conducted the tests again. The second run showed improved performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Intelligent Systems in Robotics)
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Open AccessArticle A Safety Monitoring Model for a Faulty Mobile Robot
Received: 30 April 2018 / Revised: 4 June 2018 / Accepted: 15 June 2018 / Published: 21 June 2018
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Abstract
The continued development of mobile robots (MR) must be accompanied by an increase in robotics’ safety measures. Not only must MR be capable of detecting and diagnosing faults, they should also be capable of understanding when the dangers of a mission, to themselves
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The continued development of mobile robots (MR) must be accompanied by an increase in robotics’ safety measures. Not only must MR be capable of detecting and diagnosing faults, they should also be capable of understanding when the dangers of a mission, to themselves and the surrounding environment, warrant the abandonment of their endeavors. Analysis of fault detection and diagnosis techniques helps shed light on the challenges of the robotic field, while also showing a lack of research in autonomous decision-making tools. This paper proposes a new skill-based architecture for mobile robots, together with a novel risk assessment and decision-making model to overcome the difficulties currently felt in autonomous robot design. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Robust and Resilient Robots)
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