Special Issue "Innovative Robot Designs and Approaches"

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Robotics and Automation".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (10 November 2021) | Viewed by 12366

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Giuseppe Carbone
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Mechanical, Energy, and Management Engineering, University of Calabria, Rende, Italy
Interests: robotics; robot design; mechatronics; walking hexapod; design procedure; mechanics of machinery; leg–wheel
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Med Amine Laribi
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department GMSC, Institut PPRIME, CNRS, Université de Poitiers, ENSMA, UPR 3346, 86962 Poitiers, France
Interests: mechanical design; robotics; synthesis of mechanism; parallel robots; medical robot; safety
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

At present, the implementation and role of robots are rapidly changing while attracting increasing interest in innovative solutions within a fast-growing potential market in novel fields such as service robotics, surgical and rehabilitation robotics, and assistive robotics. In this frame, significant attention still needs to be addressed at new concepts, solutions, and applications.

A valuable example is given by cable-driven parallel robots (CDPRs), as their conceptual design can provide a key performance in terms of large workspace, reconfigurability, large payload capacity, and dynamics. The interest of researchers is focused on their novelty and open issues originating from the nature of cables. Unlike classical parallel robots, CDPRs consist in unidirectional force transmission limbs with clear potential advantages in a wide range of application tasks. Due to the distinct merits of the CDPRs, they are already implemented in a variety of fields, ranging from industrial to entertainment applications, and innovative solutions and applications are still being investigated.

This Special Issue aims at attracting cutting-edge research and review articles on any innovative robot. Papers are particularly welcome on topics that are related to theory, design, practice, and applications of robots, including but not limited to the following:

  • Innovative design methods and solutions;
  • Innovative robotic architectures;
  • Novel applications;
  • Novel modeling and simulation approaches (including kinematics, dynamics, motion planning);
  • Innovative control approaches;
  • Safety-related issues.

Prof. Dr. Giuseppe Carbone
Prof. Dr. Med Amine Laribi
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Published Papers (13 papers)

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Research

Article
Optimal Design of a Parallel Manipulator for Aliquoting of Biomaterials Considering Workspace and Singularity Zones
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(4), 2070; https://doi.org/10.3390/app12042070 - 16 Feb 2022
Viewed by 569
Abstract
This article presents the concept of a robotic system for aliquoting of biomaterial, consisting of a serial manipulator in combination with a parallel Delta-like robot. The paper describes a mathematical formulation for approximating the geometric constraints of the parallel robot as a set [...] Read more.
This article presents the concept of a robotic system for aliquoting of biomaterial, consisting of a serial manipulator in combination with a parallel Delta-like robot. The paper describes a mathematical formulation for approximating the geometric constraints of the parallel robot as a set of solutions to a system of nonlinear inequalities. The analysis of the workspace is carried out, taking into account singularity zones, using a method based on the analysis of the Jacobian matrix of the mechanism and the interference of links. An optimal design procedure is proposed for the dimensional synthesis based on a criterion for maximizing the volume of the workspace, taking into account the ambiguity of the solution of the inverse kinematics. Simulation results are reported and discussed to propose a suitable design solution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovative Robot Designs and Approaches)
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Article
Innovative Collaborative Method for Interaction between a Human Operator and Robotic Manipulator Using Pointing Gestures
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(1), 258; https://doi.org/10.3390/app12010258 - 28 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 330
Abstract
The concept of “Industry 4.0” relies heavily on the utilization of collaborative robotic applications. As a result, the need for an effective, natural, and ergonomic interface arises, as more workers will be required to work with robots. Designing and implementing natural forms of [...] Read more.
The concept of “Industry 4.0” relies heavily on the utilization of collaborative robotic applications. As a result, the need for an effective, natural, and ergonomic interface arises, as more workers will be required to work with robots. Designing and implementing natural forms of human–robot interaction (HRI) is key to ensuring efficient and productive collaboration between humans and robots. This paper presents a gestural framework for controlling a collaborative robotic manipulator using pointing gestures. The core principle lies in the ability of the user to send the robot’s end effector to the location towards, which he points to by his hand. The main idea is derived from the concept of so-called “linear HRI”. The framework utilizes a collaborative robotic arm UR5e and the state-of-the-art human body tracking sensor Leap Motion. The user is not required to wear any equipment. The paper describes the overview of the framework’s core method and provides the necessary mathematical background. An experimental evaluation of the method is provided, and the main influencing factors are identified. A unique robotic collaborative workspace called Complex Collaborative HRI Workplace (COCOHRIP) was designed around the gestural framework to evaluate the method and provide the basis for the future development of HRI applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovative Robot Designs and Approaches)
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Article
A Parallel Robot with Torque Monitoring for Brachial Monoparesis Rehabilitation Tasks
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(21), 9932; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11219932 - 24 Oct 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 676
Abstract
Robots for rehabilitation tasks require a high degree of safety for the interaction with both the patients and for the operators. In particular, high safety is a stable and intuitive control of the moving elements of the system combined with an external system [...] Read more.
Robots for rehabilitation tasks require a high degree of safety for the interaction with both the patients and for the operators. In particular, high safety is a stable and intuitive control of the moving elements of the system combined with an external system of sensors able to monitor the position of every aspect of the rehabilitation system (operator, robot, and patient) and overcome in a certain measure all the events that may occur during the robotic rehabilitation procedure. This paper presents the development of an internal torque monitoring system for ASPIRE. This is a parallel robot designed for shoulder rehabilitation, which enables the use of strategies towards developing a HRI (human–robot interaction) system for the therapy. A complete analysis regarding the components of the robotic system is carried out with the purpose of determining the dynamic behavior of the system. Next, the proposed torque monitoring system is developed with respect to the previously obtained data. Several experimental tests are performed using healthy subjects being equipped with a series of biomedical sensors with the purpose of validating the proposed torque monitoring strategy and, at the same time, to satisfy the degree of safety that is requested by the medical procedure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovative Robot Designs and Approaches)
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Article
Structural-Parametric Synthesis of the RoboMech Class Parallel Mechanism with Two Sliders
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(21), 9831; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11219831 - 21 Oct 2021
Viewed by 429
Abstract
This paper addresses the structural-parametric synthesis and kinematic analysis of the RoboMech class of parallel mechanisms (PM) having two sliders. The proposed methods allow the synthesis of a PM with its structure and geometric parameters of the links to obtain the given laws [...] Read more.
This paper addresses the structural-parametric synthesis and kinematic analysis of the RoboMech class of parallel mechanisms (PM) having two sliders. The proposed methods allow the synthesis of a PM with its structure and geometric parameters of the links to obtain the given laws of motions of the input and output links (sliders). The paper outlines a possible application of the proposed approach to design a PM for a cold stamping technological line. The proposed PM is formed by connecting two sliders (input and output objects) using one passive and one negative closing kinematic chain (CKC). The passive CKC does not impose a geometric constraint on the movements of the sliders and the geometric parameters of its links are varied to satisfy the geometric constraint of the negative CKC. The negative CKC imposes one geometric constraint on the movements of the sliders and its geometric parameters are determined on the basis of the Chebyshev and least-square approximations. Problems of positions and analogues of velocities and accelerations of the considered PM are solved to demonstrate the feasibility and effectiveness of the proposed formulations and case of study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovative Robot Designs and Approaches)
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Article
Virtual and Physical Prototyping of Reconfigurable Parallel Mechanisms with Single Actuation
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(15), 7158; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11157158 - 03 Aug 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 819
Abstract
The paper presents novel models of reconfigurable parallel mechanisms (RPMs) with a single active degree-of-freedom (1-DOF). The mechanisms contain three to six identical kinematic chains, which provide three (for the tripod) to zero (for the hexapod) uncontrollable DOFs. Screw theory is applied to [...] Read more.
The paper presents novel models of reconfigurable parallel mechanisms (RPMs) with a single active degree-of-freedom (1-DOF). The mechanisms contain three to six identical kinematic chains, which provide three (for the tripod) to zero (for the hexapod) uncontrollable DOFs. Screw theory is applied to carry out mobility analysis and proves the existence of controllable and uncontrollable DOFs of these mechanisms. Each kinematic chain in the synthesized mechanisms consists of planar and spatial parts. Such a design provides them with reconfiguration capabilities even when the driving link is fixed. This allows reproduction of diverse output trajectories without using additional actuators. In this paper, the model of a mechanism with six kinematic chains (hexapod) has been virtually and physically prototyped. The designing and assembling algorithms are developed using the detailed computer-aided design (CAD) model, which was further used to carry out kinetostatic analysis considering complex geometry of mechanism elements and friction among all contacting surfaces of joints. The developed virtual prototype and its calculation data have been further applied to fabricate mechanism elements and assemble an actuated full-scale physical prototype for future testing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovative Robot Designs and Approaches)
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Article
A 4-DOF Upper Limb Exoskeleton for Physical Assistance: Design, Modeling, Control and Performance Evaluation
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(13), 5865; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11135865 - 24 Jun 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1410
Abstract
Wheelchair mounted upper limb exoskeletons offer an alternative way to support disabled individuals in their activities of daily living (ADL). Key challenges in exoskeleton technology include innovative mechanical design and implementation of a control method that can assure a safe and comfortable interaction [...] Read more.
Wheelchair mounted upper limb exoskeletons offer an alternative way to support disabled individuals in their activities of daily living (ADL). Key challenges in exoskeleton technology include innovative mechanical design and implementation of a control method that can assure a safe and comfortable interaction between the human upper limb and exoskeleton. In this article, we present a mechanical design of a four degrees of freedom (DOF) wheelchair mounted upper limb exoskeleton. The design takes advantage of non-backdrivable mechanism that can hold the output position without energy consumption and provide assistance to the completely paralyzed users. Moreover, a PD-based trajectory tracking control is implemented to enhance the performance of human exoskeleton system for two different tasks. Preliminary results are provided to show the effectiveness and reliability of using the proposed design for physically disabled people. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovative Robot Designs and Approaches)
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Article
Task-Based Design Approach: Development of a Planar Cable-Driven Parallel Robot for Upper Limb Rehabilitation
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(12), 5635; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11125635 - 18 Jun 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 657
Abstract
This paper deals with the optimal design of a planar cable-driven parallel robot (CDPR), with three degrees of freedom, intended for assisting the patient’s affected upper limb along a prescribed movement. A Qualisys motion capture system was used to record the prescribed task [...] Read more.
This paper deals with the optimal design of a planar cable-driven parallel robot (CDPR), with three degrees of freedom, intended for assisting the patient’s affected upper limb along a prescribed movement. A Qualisys motion capture system was used to record the prescribed task performed by a healthy subject. For each pose taken by the center of mass of the end-effector, the cable tensions, the elastic stiffness and the dexterity were optimized while satisfying a set of constraints. First, a multiobjective formulation of the optimization problem was adopted. Since selecting a single solution among the multiple ones given by the Pareto front presents an issue, a mono-objective formulation was chosen, where the objective function was defined as a weighted sum of the chosen criteria. The appropriate values of the weighted coefficients were studied with the aim of identifying their influence on the optimization process and, thus, a judicious choice was made. A prototype of the optimal design of the CDPR was developed and validated experimentally on the prescribed workspace using the position control approach for the motors. The tests showed promising reliability of the proposed design for the task. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovative Robot Designs and Approaches)
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Article
ResQbot 2.0: An Improved Design of a Mobile Rescue Robot with an Inflatable Neck Securing Device for Safe Casualty Extraction
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(12), 5414; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11125414 - 10 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1294
Abstract
Despite the fact that a large number of research studies have been conducted in the field of search and rescue robotics, significantly little attention has been given to the development of rescue robots capable of performing physical rescue interventions, including loading and transporting [...] Read more.
Despite the fact that a large number of research studies have been conducted in the field of search and rescue robotics, significantly little attention has been given to the development of rescue robots capable of performing physical rescue interventions, including loading and transporting victims to a safe zone—i.e., casualty extraction tasks. The aim of this study is to develop a mobile rescue robot that could assist first responders when saving casualties from a dangerous area by performing a casualty extraction procedure whilst ensuring that no additional injury is caused by the operation and no additional lives are put at risk. In this paper, we present a novel design of ResQbot 2.0—a mobile rescue robot designed for performing the casualty extraction task. This robot is a stretcher-type casualty extraction robot, which is a significantly improved version of the initial proof-of-concept prototype, ResQbot (retrospectively referred to as ResQbot 1.0), that has been developed in our previous work. The proposed designs and development of the mechanical system of ResQbot 2.0, as well as the method for safely loading a full-body casualty onto the robot’s ‘stretcher bed’, are described in detail based on the conducted literature review, evaluation of our previous work, and feedback provided by medical professionals. We perform simulation experiments in the Gazebo physics engine simulator to verify the proposed design and the casualty extraction procedure. The simulation results demonstrate the capability of ResQbot 2.0 to carry out safe casualty extractions successfully. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovative Robot Designs and Approaches)
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Article
Instant Center Identification of Single-Loop Multi-DOF Planar Linkage Using Virtual Link
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(10), 4463; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11104463 - 14 May 2021
Viewed by 752
Abstract
Instant center is an important kinematic characteristic which can be used for velocity and singularity analysis, configuration synthesis and dynamics modeling of multi-degree of freedom (multi-DOF) planar linkage. The Aronhold–Kennedy theorem is famous for locating instant centers of four-bar planar linkage, but for [...] Read more.
Instant center is an important kinematic characteristic which can be used for velocity and singularity analysis, configuration synthesis and dynamics modeling of multi-degree of freedom (multi-DOF) planar linkage. The Aronhold–Kennedy theorem is famous for locating instant centers of four-bar planar linkage, but for single-loop multi-DOF linkages, it fails. Increasing with the number of the links of single-loop multi-DOF planar linkages, the lack of link relationship makes the identification of instant center become a recognized difficulty. This paper proposes a virtual link method to identify instant centers of single-loop multi-DOF planar linkage. First, three types of instant centers are redefined and the instant center identification process graph is introduced. Then, based on coupled loop chain characteristic and definition of instant center, two criteria are presented to convert single-loop multi-DOF planar linkage into a two-loop virtual linkage by adding the virtual links. Subsequently, the unchanged instant centers are identified in the virtual linkage and used to acquire all the instant centers of original single-loop multi-DOF planar linkage. As a result, the instant centers of single-loop five-bar, six-bar planar linkage with several prismatic joints are systematically researched for the first time. Finally, the validity of the proposed method is demonstrated using loop equations. It is a graphical and straightforward method and the application is wide up to single-loop multi-DOF N-bar (N ≥ 5) planar linkage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovative Robot Designs and Approaches)
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Article
Initial Estimation of Kinematic Structure of a Robotic Manipulator as an Input for Its Synthesis
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(8), 3548; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11083548 - 15 Apr 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 825
Abstract
Researchers often deal with the synthesis of the kinematic structure of a robotic manipulator to determine the optimal manipulator for a given task. This approach can lower the cost of the manipulator and allow it to achieve poses that might be unreachable by [...] Read more.
Researchers often deal with the synthesis of the kinematic structure of a robotic manipulator to determine the optimal manipulator for a given task. This approach can lower the cost of the manipulator and allow it to achieve poses that might be unreachable by universal manipulators in an existing constrained environment. Numerical methods are broadly used to find the optimum design but they often require an estimated initial kinematic structure as input, especially if local-optimum-search algorithms are used. This paper presents four different algorithms for such an estimation using the standard Denavit–Hartenberg convention. Two of the algorithms are able to reach a given position and the other two can reach both position and orientation using Bézier splines approximation and vector algebra. The results are demonstrated with three chosen example poses and are evaluated by measuring manipulability and the total link length of the final kinematic structures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovative Robot Designs and Approaches)
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Article
Variable Stiffness Mechanism for the Reduction of Cutting Forces in Robotic Deburring
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(6), 2883; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11062883 - 23 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 909
Abstract
One of the main issues related to robotic deburring is that the tool can get damaged or stopped when the burr thickness exceeds a certain threshold. The aim of this work is to devise a mechanism that can reduce cutting forces automatically, in [...] Read more.
One of the main issues related to robotic deburring is that the tool can get damaged or stopped when the burr thickness exceeds a certain threshold. The aim of this work is to devise a mechanism that can reduce cutting forces automatically, in the event that the burr is too high, and is able to return to the baseline configuration when the burr thickness is acceptable again. On the one hand, in normal cutting conditions, the mechanism should have high stiffness to ensure high cutting precision. On the other hand, when the burr is too high the mechanism should exploit its compliance to reduce the cutting forces and, as a consequence, a second cutting cycle will be necessary to completely remove the burr. After the conceptual design of the mechanism and the specification of the desired stiffness curve, the main design parameters of the system are derived thanks to an optimization method. The effectiveness of the proposed mechanism is verified by means of dynamic simulations using selected test cases. A reduction up to 60% of the cutting forces is obtained, considering a steel burr up to 6 mm high. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovative Robot Designs and Approaches)
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Article
Kinematic Modelling and Motion Analysis of a Humanoid Torso Mechanism
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(6), 2607; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11062607 - 15 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 667
Abstract
This paper introduces a novel kinematic model for a tendon-driven compliant torso mechanism for humanoid robots, which describes the complex behaviour of a system characterised by the interaction of a complex compliant element with rigid bodies and actuation tendons. Inspired by a human [...] Read more.
This paper introduces a novel kinematic model for a tendon-driven compliant torso mechanism for humanoid robots, which describes the complex behaviour of a system characterised by the interaction of a complex compliant element with rigid bodies and actuation tendons. Inspired by a human spine, the proposed mechanism is based on a flexible backbone whose shape is controlled by two pairs of antagonistic tendons. First, the structure is analysed to identify the main modes of motion. Then, a constant curvature kinematic model is extended to describe the behaviour of the torso mechanism under examination, which includes axial elongation/compression and torsion in addition to the main bending motion. A linearised stiffness model is also formulated to estimate the static response of the backbone. The novel model is used to evaluate the workspace of an example mechanical design, and then it is mapped onto a controller to validate the results with an experimental test on a prototype. By replacing a previous approximated model calibrated on experimental data, this kinematic model improves the accuracy and efficiency of the torso mechanism and enables the performance evaluation of the robot over the reachable workspace, to ensure that the tendon-driven architecture operates within its wrench-closure workspace. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovative Robot Designs and Approaches)
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Article
A Bioinspired Humanoid Foot Mechanism
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(4), 1686; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11041686 - 13 Feb 2021
Viewed by 917
Abstract
This paper introduces an innovative robotic foot design inspired by the functionality and the anatomy of the human foot. Most humanoid robots are characterized by flat, rigid feet with limited mobility, which cannot emulate the physical behavior of the foot–ground interaction. The proposed [...] Read more.
This paper introduces an innovative robotic foot design inspired by the functionality and the anatomy of the human foot. Most humanoid robots are characterized by flat, rigid feet with limited mobility, which cannot emulate the physical behavior of the foot–ground interaction. The proposed foot mechanism consists of three main bodies, to represent the heel, plant, and toes, connected by compliant joints for improved balancing and impact absorption. The functional requirements were extracted from medical literature, and were acquired through a motion capture system, and the proposed design was validated with a numerical simulation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovative Robot Designs and Approaches)
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