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Robotics, Volume 9, Issue 1 (March 2020) – 19 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Various 3-UPU architectures feature two rigid bodies connected to one another through three kinematic chains (limbs) of universal–prismatic–universal (UPU) type. They were first proposed in the last decade of the 20th century and have animated discussions among researchers for approximately two decades. Such discussions brought to light many features of lower-mobility parallel manipulators (PMs) that were unknown until then. The discussions also showed that such architectures may be sized into translational PMs, parallel wrists, or even reconfigurable (metamorphic) PMs. Even though commercial robots with these architectures have not yet been built, the interest in them remains. Consequently, a review of the literature on these architectures, highlighting their contribution to the progress of lower-mobility PM design, is still of interest for the scientific community.View this paper.
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Open AccessArticle
A Novel Design and Implementation of Autonomous Robotic Car Based on ROS in Indoor Scenario
Robotics 2020, 9(1), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics9010019 - 24 Mar 2020
Viewed by 2325
Abstract
Pervasive deployment of autonomous vehicle all over the world is an undisputed trend in the future. Autonomous vehicle will inevitably play an essential role in decreasing traffic jams, reducing threats from driving while intoxicated (DWI), and assisting the handicapped to get around. At [...] Read more.
Pervasive deployment of autonomous vehicle all over the world is an undisputed trend in the future. Autonomous vehicle will inevitably play an essential role in decreasing traffic jams, reducing threats from driving while intoxicated (DWI), and assisting the handicapped to get around. At the same time, the new energy vehicles (NEV) especially the electromobile is gradually adopted by several governments like Germany, USA and China as compulsive transportation tools from the standpoint of environmental friendliness. Taking these two crucial trends into consideration, this article proposes a scheme of autonomous robotic car based on robot operation system (ROS) in electromobile-like car which can be easily transplanted to commercial electromobile. In this article, the design and implementation of robotic car are demonstrated in detail which involves overall architecture of functional modules, hardware design, obstacle avoidance, localization and mapping, land detection and tracking, velocity control and indoor navigation. All software modules and hardware are integrated in NVIDIA Jetson TX1 and TRAXXAS car. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Industrial Robots & Automation)
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Open AccessArticle
Controlling Liquid Slosh by Applying Optimal Operating-Speed-Dependent Motion Profiles
Robotics 2020, 9(1), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics9010018 - 23 Mar 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2073
Abstract
In this paper, an investigation is presented that demonstrates the application of a new approach for enabling the reduction of liquid slosh by implementing optimized motion profiles over a continuous range of operating speeds. Liquid slosh occurs in the packaging process of beverages. [...] Read more.
In this paper, an investigation is presented that demonstrates the application of a new approach for enabling the reduction of liquid slosh by implementing optimized motion profiles over a continuous range of operating speeds. Liquid slosh occurs in the packaging process of beverages. Starting by creating a dynamic process model, optimal control theory is applied for calculating optimal motion profiles that minimize residual vibration. Subsequently, the difficulty of operating speed dependency of the herewith synthesized motion profiles is examined. An approach in which the optimal motion profiles are consolidated into a characteristic map of motion specifications, which can be executed by a programmable logic controller in real time, is discussed. Eventually, the success of this novel approach is demonstrated by the comparison with state-of-the-art motion profiles and conventional motion implementation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Robotics and Mechatronics)
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Open AccessArticle
A Plug and Play Transparent Communication Layer for Cloud Robotics Architectures
Robotics 2020, 9(1), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics9010017 - 22 Mar 2020
Viewed by 2079
Abstract
The cloud robotics paradigm aims at enhancing the abilities of robots by using cloud services, but it still poses several challenges in the research community. Most of the current literature focuses on how to enrich specific robotic capabilities, overlooking how to effectively establish [...] Read more.
The cloud robotics paradigm aims at enhancing the abilities of robots by using cloud services, but it still poses several challenges in the research community. Most of the current literature focuses on how to enrich specific robotic capabilities, overlooking how to effectively establish communication between the two fields. Our work proposes a “plug-and-play” solution to bridge the communication gap between cloud and robotic applications. The proposed solution is designed based on the mature WebSocket technology and it can be extended to any ROS-based robotic platform. The main contributions of this work are the definition of a reliable autoconnection/autoconfiguration mechanism as well as to outline a scalable communication layer that allows the effective control of multiple robots from multiple users. The “plug-and-play” solution was evaluated in both simulated and real scenarios. In the first case, the presence of users and robots was simulated with Robot Operating System (ROS) nodes running on five machines. In the real scenario, three non-expert users teleoperated, simultaneously, three remote robots by using the proposed communication layer with different networking protocols. Results confirmed the reliability at different levels: at startup (success_rate = 100%); during high-rate communications (message_lost = 0%); in performing open-loop spiral trajectories with enhancement, with respect to similar works; and in the quality of simultaneous teleoperations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Robotics Research for Healthy Living and Active Ageing)
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Open AccessReview
A Review on Design of Upper Limb Exoskeletons
Robotics 2020, 9(1), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics9010016 - 17 Mar 2020
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 3653
Abstract
Exoskeleton robotics has ushered in a new era of modern neuromuscular rehabilitation engineering and assistive technology research. The technology promises to improve the upper-limb functionalities required for performing activities of daily living. The exoskeleton technology is evolving quickly but still needs interdisciplinary research [...] Read more.
Exoskeleton robotics has ushered in a new era of modern neuromuscular rehabilitation engineering and assistive technology research. The technology promises to improve the upper-limb functionalities required for performing activities of daily living. The exoskeleton technology is evolving quickly but still needs interdisciplinary research to solve technical challenges, e.g., kinematic compatibility and development of effective human–robot interaction. In this paper, the recent development in upper-limb exoskeletons is reviewed. The key challenges involved in the development of assistive exoskeletons are highlighted by comparing available solutions. This paper provides a general classification, comparisons, and overview of the mechatronic designs of upper-limb exoskeletons. In addition, a brief overview of the control modalities for upper-limb exoskeletons is also presented in this paper. A discussion on the future directions of research is included. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Artistic Robotic Painting Using the Palette Knife Technique
Robotics 2020, 9(1), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics9010015 - 17 Mar 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2234
Abstract
This paper presents a novel robotic painting system able to create artworks using the palette knife technique. The implementation of this method with a robotic system is particularly challenging, since the robot needs to precisely manipulate the palette knife to pick up and [...] Read more.
This paper presents a novel robotic painting system able to create artworks using the palette knife technique. The implementation of this method with a robotic system is particularly challenging, since the robot needs to precisely manipulate the palette knife to pick up and release the color on the canvas. The painting system comprises a 6-DOF collaborative robot, a camera to acquire the information on the color position, and several algorithms for the artistic rendering of the images and for the planning of the trajectories that the robot has to follow. During the painting process the user can modify multiple parameters: both software, for example, stroke position and orientation, and hardware, for example, palette knife inclination and height, to obtain different stroke effects. Finally, the experimental results are discussed by analyzing the artworks painted by the novel robotic system. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Cobot with Prismatic Compliant Joint Intended for Doppler Sonography
Robotics 2020, 9(1), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics9010014 - 16 Mar 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2091
Abstract
This paper deals with a collaborative robot, i.e., cobot, coupled with a new prismatic compliant joint (PCJ) at its end-effector. The proposed collaborative solution is intended for Doppler sonography to prevent musculoskeletal disorders issues. On one hand, the Doppler sonographer’s postures are investigated [...] Read more.
This paper deals with a collaborative robot, i.e., cobot, coupled with a new prismatic compliant joint (PCJ) at its end-effector. The proposed collaborative solution is intended for Doppler sonography to prevent musculoskeletal disorders issues. On one hand, the Doppler sonographer’s postures are investigated based on motion capture use during the arteries examination. This study highlighted that configurations adopted by angiologists lead to the musculoskeletal disorder. On the other hand, the proposed PCJ with variable stiffness gives an intrinsic compliance to the cobot handling the probe. This feature allows preserving the human safety when both human and cobot share a common workspace. The effectiveness of the proposed solution is experimentally validated through a 7-DoF Franka Emika robot virtually coupled with the PCJ, during the execution of a trajectory performed during a Doppler ultrasound exam. The impact force criterion is considered as a safety performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Robotics and Mechatronics)
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Open AccessArticle
Design of a UGV Powered by Solar Energy for Precision Agriculture
Robotics 2020, 9(1), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics9010013 - 13 Mar 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3172
Abstract
In this paper, a novel UGV (unmanned ground vehicle) for precision agriculture, named “Agri.q,” is presented. The Agri.q has a multiple degrees of freedom positioning mechanism and it is equipped with a robotic arm and vision sensors, which allow to challenge irregular terrains [...] Read more.
In this paper, a novel UGV (unmanned ground vehicle) for precision agriculture, named “Agri.q,” is presented. The Agri.q has a multiple degrees of freedom positioning mechanism and it is equipped with a robotic arm and vision sensors, which allow to challenge irregular terrains and to perform precision field operations with perception. In particular, the integration of a 7 DOFs (degrees of freedom) manipulator and a mobile frame results in a reconfigurable workspace, which opens to samples collection and inspection in non-structured environments. Moreover, Agri.q mounts an orientable landing platform for drones which is made of solar panels, enabling multi-robot strategies and solar power storage, with a view to sustainable energy. In fact, the device will assume a central role in a more complex automated system for agriculture, that includes the use of UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) and UGV for coordinated field monitoring and servicing. The electronics of the device is also discussed, since Agri.q should be ready to send-receive data to move autonomously or to be remotely controlled by means of dedicated processing units and transmitter-receiver modules. This paper collects all these elements and shows the advances of the previous works, describing the design process of the mechatronic system and showing the realization phase, whose outcome is the physical prototype. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Robotics and Mechatronics)
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Open AccessEditorial
Advances in Mechanical Systems Dynamics
Robotics 2020, 9(1), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics9010012 - 09 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2006
Abstract
Nowadays, robotics is developing at a much faster pace than ever in the past, both inside and outside industrial environments [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Italian Robotics) Printed Edition available
Open AccessArticle
Towards Tethered Tool Manipulation Planning with the Help of a Tool Balancer
Robotics 2020, 9(1), 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics9010011 - 06 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2238
Abstract
Handling and maneuvering tools across a robot workspace is a challenging task that often requires the implementation of constrained motion planning. In the case of wired or tethered tools, their maneuvering becomes considerably harder by the tool cable. If the cable presence is [...] Read more.
Handling and maneuvering tools across a robot workspace is a challenging task that often requires the implementation of constrained motion planning. In the case of wired or tethered tools, their maneuvering becomes considerably harder by the tool cable. If the cable presence is not considered, the robot motions may make the cable become entangled with the robot arms or elements of its workspace, causing accidents or unnecessary strain on the robot and the tool. Furthermore, the behavior of the tool cable during manipulation and its degree of entanglement around the robot are difficult to predict. The present paper introduces a constrained manipulation planner for dual-armed tethered tool manipulation involving tool re-grasping. Our solution employs a tool balancer to straighten the tool cable and facilitate the cable deformation problem. The planner predicts the cable states during manipulation and restricts the robot motions in order to avoid cable entanglements and collisions while performing tool re-posing tasks. Furthermore, the planner also applies orientational constraints to limit the cable bending, reducing the torque and stress suffered by the robot due to the cable tension. Simulations and real-world experiments validated the presented method. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Robotics and Mechatronics)
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Open AccessArticle
Visual Flight Rules-Based Collision Avoidance Systems for UAV Flying in Civil Aerospace
Robotics 2020, 9(1), 9; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics9010009 - 25 Feb 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2527
Abstract
The operation of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in civil airspace is restricted by the aviation authorities, which require full compliance with regulations that apply for manned aircraft. This paper proposes control algorithms for a collision avoidance system that can be used as an [...] Read more.
The operation of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in civil airspace is restricted by the aviation authorities, which require full compliance with regulations that apply for manned aircraft. This paper proposes control algorithms for a collision avoidance system that can be used as an advisory system or a guidance system for UAVs that are flying in civil airspace under visual flight rules. A decision-making system for collision avoidance is developed based on the rules of the air. The proposed architecture of the decision-making system is engineered to be implementable in both manned aircraft and UAVs to perform different tasks ranging from collision detection to a safe avoidance manoeuvre initiation. Avoidance manoeuvres that are compliant with the rules of the air are proposed based on pilot suggestions for a subset of possible collision scenarios. The proposed avoidance manoeuvres are parameterized using a geometric approach. An optimal collision avoidance algorithm is developed for real-time local trajectory planning. Essentially, a finite-horizon optimal control problem is periodically solved in real-time hence updating the aircraft trajectory to avoid obstacles and track a predefined trajectory. The optimal control problem is formulated in output space, and parameterized by using B-splines. Then the optimal designed outputs are mapped into control inputs of the system by using the inverse dynamics of a fixed wing aircraft. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Navigation and Control of UAVs)
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Open AccessArticle
Sim-to-Real Quadrotor Landing via Sequential Deep Q-Networks and Domain Randomization
Robotics 2020, 9(1), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics9010008 - 25 Feb 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2809
Abstract
The autonomous landing of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) on a marker is one of the most challenging problems in robotics. Many solutions have been proposed, with the best results achieved via customized geometric features and external sensors. This paper discusses for the [...] Read more.
The autonomous landing of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) on a marker is one of the most challenging problems in robotics. Many solutions have been proposed, with the best results achieved via customized geometric features and external sensors. This paper discusses for the first time the use of deep reinforcement learning as an end-to-end learning paradigm to find a policy for UAVs autonomous landing. Our method is based on a divide-and-conquer paradigm that splits a task into sequential sub-tasks, each one assigned to a Deep Q-Network (DQN), hence the name Sequential Deep Q-Network (SDQN). Each DQN in an SDQN is activated by an internal trigger, and it represents a component of a high-level control policy, which can navigate the UAV towards the marker. Different technical solutions have been implemented, for example combining vanilla and double DQNs, and the introduction of a partitioned buffer replay to address the problem of sample efficiency. One of the main contributions of this work consists in showing how an SDQN trained in a simulator via domain randomization, can effectively generalize to real-world scenarios of increasing complexity. The performance of SDQNs is comparable with a state-of-the-art algorithm and human pilots while being quantitatively better in noisy conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Intelligent Robots and Mechatronics)
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Open AccessArticle
Potential Field Method Parameters Tuning Using Fuzzy Inference System for Adaptive Formation Control of Multi-Mobile Robots
Robotics 2020, 9(1), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics9010010 - 25 Feb 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2264
Abstract
Nowadays, employing more than one single robot in complex tasks or dangerous environments is highly required. Thus, the formation of multi-mobile robots is an active field. One famous method for formation control is the Potential Field Method due to its simplicity and efficiency [...] Read more.
Nowadays, employing more than one single robot in complex tasks or dangerous environments is highly required. Thus, the formation of multi-mobile robots is an active field. One famous method for formation control is the Potential Field Method due to its simplicity and efficiency in dynamic environments. Therefore, we propose a Fuzzy Inference tuning of the potential field parameters to overcome its limitations. We implement the modified method with tuned parameters on MATLAB and apply it to three TurtleBot3 burger model robots. Then, several real-time experiments are carried out to confirm the applicability and validity of the modified potential filed method to achieve the robots’ tasks. The results assert that the TurtleBot3 robots can escape from a local minimum, pass through a narrow passage, and pass between two closely placed obstacles. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Geometric Insight into the Control Allocation Problem for Open-Frame ROVs and Visualisation of Solution
Robotics 2020, 9(1), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics9010007 - 29 Jan 2020
Viewed by 2498
Abstract
The overall control system for an open-frame Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) is typically built from three subsystems: guidance, navigation and control (GNC). The control allocation plays a vital role in the control subsystem. Typically, open-frame underwater vehicles have p actuators (thrusters) for the [...] Read more.
The overall control system for an open-frame Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) is typically built from three subsystems: guidance, navigation and control (GNC). The control allocation plays a vital role in the control subsystem. Typically, open-frame underwater vehicles have p actuators (thrusters) for the motion in the horizontal plane, and the control allocation problem, in this case, is very complex and hard to visualise, because the normalised constrained control subset is a p-dimensional unit cube. The aim of this paper is to give a clear picture and a geometric interpretation of the problem and to introduce a hybrid method, based on the integration of a weighted pseudoinverse and the fixed-point method. The main idea of the hybrid method is visualised, and the deep geometric insight is provided using a “virtual” ROV in low-dimensional control spaces, including visualisation of the attainable command set, solution lines, control energy spheres and the role of pseudoinverse and fixed-point iterations. The same concepts are then extended to higher-dimensional cases, for open-frame ROV with four X-shaped (vectored) horizontal thrusters, which is one of the most common thruster configurations for commercial ROVs. The proposed hybrid method has been developed, integrated into a generic fault-tolerant ROV control system and evaluated in virtual and real-world environments off the west coast of Ireland using observation-class ROV Latis and work-class ROV Étaín. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Underwater Robotics)
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Open AccessEditorial
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Robotics in 2019
Robotics 2020, 9(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics9010006 - 27 Jan 2020
Viewed by 2365
Abstract
The editorial team greatly appreciates the reviewers who have dedicated their considerable time and
expertise to the journal’s rigorous editorial process over the past 12 months, regardless of whether
the papers are finally published or not [...] Full article
Open AccessReview
A Review of the Literature on the Lower-Mobility Parallel Manipulators of 3-UPU or 3-URU Type
Robotics 2020, 9(1), 5; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics9010005 - 13 Jan 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2648
Abstract
Various 3-UPU architectures feature two rigid bodies connected to one another through three kinematic chains (limbs) of universal–prismatic–universal (UPU) type. They were first proposed in the last decade of the 20th century and have animated discussions among researchers for more-or-less two decades. Such [...] Read more.
Various 3-UPU architectures feature two rigid bodies connected to one another through three kinematic chains (limbs) of universal–prismatic–universal (UPU) type. They were first proposed in the last decade of the 20th century and have animated discussions among researchers for more-or-less two decades. Such discussions brought to light many features of lower-mobility parallel manipulators (PMs) that were unknown until then. The discussions also showed that such architectures may be sized into translational PMs, parallel wrists, or even reconfigurable (metamorphic) PMs. Even though commercial robots with these architectures have not yet been built, the interest in them remains. Consequently, a review of the literature on these architectures, highlighting their contribution to the progress of lower-mobility PM design, is still of interest for the scientific community. This paper aims at presenting a critical review of the results that have been obtained up until now. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Kinematics and Robot Design II, KaRD2019)
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Open AccessArticle
An Adaptive Second Order Sliding Mode Inverse Kinematics Approach for Serial Kinematic Chain Robot Manipulators
Robotics 2020, 9(1), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics9010004 - 03 Jan 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3070
Abstract
The problem of inverse kinematics is essential to consider while dealing with the robot’s mechanical structure in almost all applications. Since the solution of the inverse kinematics problem is very complex, many research efforts have been working towards getting the approximate solution of [...] Read more.
The problem of inverse kinematics is essential to consider while dealing with the robot’s mechanical structure in almost all applications. Since the solution of the inverse kinematics problem is very complex, many research efforts have been working towards getting the approximate solution of this problem. However, for some applications, working with the approximate robot’s model is neither sufficient nor efficient. In this paper, an adaptive inverse kinematics methodology is developed to solve the inverse kinematics problem in such a way that compensate for unknown uncertainty in the Jacobian matrix of the serial kinematic chain robot manipulators. The proposed methodology is based on continuous second order sliding mode strategy (CSOSM-AIK). The salient advantage of the CSOSM-AIK approach is that it does not require the availability of the kinematics model or Jacobian matrix of the robot manipulators from joint space variables to Cartesian space variables. The global stability of the closed-loop system with CSOSM-AIK methodology is proven using the Lyapunov theorem. In order to demonstrate the robustness and effectiveness of the proposed methodology, some simulations are conducted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Industrial Robots & Automation)
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Open AccessArticle
Design and Implementation of a Connection between Augmented Reality and Sensors
Robotics 2020, 9(1), 3; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics9010003 - 01 Jan 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2952
Abstract
Wireless sensor networks (WSN) are used by engineers to record the behavior of structures. The sensors provide data to be used by engineers to make informed choices and prioritize decisions concerning maintenance procedures, required repairs, and potential infrastructure replacements. However, reliable data collection [...] Read more.
Wireless sensor networks (WSN) are used by engineers to record the behavior of structures. The sensors provide data to be used by engineers to make informed choices and prioritize decisions concerning maintenance procedures, required repairs, and potential infrastructure replacements. However, reliable data collection in the field remains a challenge. The information obtained by the sensors in the field frequently needs further processing, either at the decision-making headquarters or in the office. Although WSN allows data collection and analysis, there is often a gap between WSN data analysis results and the way decisions are made in industry. The industry depends on inspectors’ decisions, so it is of vital necessity to improve the inspectors’ access in the field to data collected from sensors. This paper presents the results of an experiment that shows the way Augmented Reality (AR) may improve the availability of WSN data to inspectors. AR is a tool which overlays the known attributes of an object with the corresponding position on the headset screen. In this way, it allows the integration of reality with a virtual representation provided by a computer in real time. These additional synthetic overlays supply data that may be unavailable otherwise, but it may also display additional contextual information. The experiment reported in this paper involves the application of a smart Strain Gauge Platform, which automatically measures strain for different applications, using a wireless sensor. In this experiment, an AR headset was used to improve actionable data visualization. The results of the reported experiment indicate that since the AR headset makes it possible to visualize information collected from the sensors in a graphic form in real time, it enables automatic, effective, reliable, and instant communication from a smart low-cost sensor strain gauge to a database. Moreover, it allows inspectors to observe augmented data and compare it across time and space, which then leads to appropriate prioritization of infrastructure management decisions based on accurate observations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Inspection Robotic Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
Dedicated Nonlinear Control of Robot Manipulators in the Presence of External Vibration and Uncertain Payload
Robotics 2020, 9(1), 2; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics9010002 - 01 Jan 2020
Viewed by 3005
Abstract
Robot manipulators are often tasked with working in environments with vibrations and are subject to load uncertainty. Providing an accurate tracking control design with implementable torque input for these robots is a complex topic. This paper presents two approaches to solve this problem. [...] Read more.
Robot manipulators are often tasked with working in environments with vibrations and are subject to load uncertainty. Providing an accurate tracking control design with implementable torque input for these robots is a complex topic. This paper presents two approaches to solve this problem. The approaches consider joint space tracking control design in the presence of nonlinear uncertain torques caused by external vibration and payload variation. The properties of the uncertain torques are used in both approaches. The first approach is based on the boundedness property, while the second approach considers the differentiability and boundedness together. The controllers derived from each approach differ from the perspectives of accuracy, control effort, and disturbance properties. A Lyapunov-based analysis is utilized to guarantee the stability of the control design in each case. Simulation results validate the approaches and demonstrate the performance of the controllers. The derived controllers show stable results at the cost of the mentioned properties. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Application of Reinforcement Learning to a Robotic Drinking Assistant
Robotics 2020, 9(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics9010001 - 18 Dec 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3074
Abstract
Meal assistant robots form a very important part of the assistive robotics sector since self-feeding is a priority activity of daily living (ADL) for people suffering from physical disabilities like tetraplegia. A quick survey of the current trends in this domain reveals that, [...] Read more.
Meal assistant robots form a very important part of the assistive robotics sector since self-feeding is a priority activity of daily living (ADL) for people suffering from physical disabilities like tetraplegia. A quick survey of the current trends in this domain reveals that, while tremendous progress has been made in the development of assistive robots for the feeding of solid foods, the task of feeding liquids from a cup remains largely underdeveloped. Therefore, this paper describes an assistive robot that focuses specifically on the feeding of liquids from a cup using tactile feedback through force sensors with direct human–robot interaction (HRI). The main focus of this paper is the application of reinforcement learning (RL) to learn what the best robotic actions are, based on the force applied by the user. A model of the application environment is developed based on the Markov decision process and a software training procedure is designed for quick development and testing. Five of the commonly used RL algorithms are investigated, with the intention of finding the best fit for training, and the system is tested in an experimental study. The preliminary results show a high degree of acceptance by the participants. Feedback from the users indicates that the assistive robot functions intuitively and effectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reinforcement Learning for Robotics Applications)
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