Special Issue "Mechanism Design for Robotics"

A special issue of Robotics (ISSN 2218-6581).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 January 2019).

Printed Edition Available!
A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Marco Ceccarelli
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
IFToMM representative, LARM2: Laboratory of Robot Mechatronics, Dept of Industrial Engineering; University of Rome Tor Vergata, Via del Politecnico 1, 00133 Roma, Italy
Fax: +39 0776 2993989
Interests: mechanism design for robots; grippers and hands; legged walking machines; manipulators; experimental mechanics; machine simulation; history of mechanisms and machines
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Alessandro Gasparetto
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Università degli Studi di Udine, Polytechnic Department of Engineering and Architecture, Via delle Scienze 206, 33100 Udine, Italy
Interests: mechanism design for robots; modelling and control of mechatronic systems; trajectory planning in robotics; history of mechanisms and machines

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Robotics is developing at a much faster pace than ever in the past. In a few years, the scenario will be totally different, both inside and outside of the industrial environment. In order to keep up with this quick evolution, research fields connected with mechanism design and, more generally, to the mechanical modelling of robots and of mechatronics systems, should evolve rapidly.

This Special Issue aims at exhibiting the latest research achievements, findings, and ideas in the areas of “Mechanism Design for Robotics”. The issue will contain revised and substantially extended versions of selected papers that were presented at the 4th IFToMM Symposium on Mechanism Design for Robotics (MEDER 2018), but we also strongly encourage researchers unable to participate in the conference to submit articles for this call.

Papers are welcomed on topics that are related to mechanisms within the aspects of theory, design, practice, and applications for robotics, including, but not limited to:

  • theoretical and computational kinematics
  • mechanism design
  • experimental mechanics
  • mechanics of robots
  • dynamics of machinery and multi-body systems
  • control issues of mechanical systems
  • innovative mechanisms and applications
  • linkages and manipulators
  • micro-mechanisms
  • machine intelligence
  • mechanism education and history of MMS

Prof. Dr. Marco Ceccarelli
Prof. Dr. Alessandro Gasparetto
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Robotics is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (14 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Mechanism Design for Robotics
Robotics 2019, 8(2), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics8020030 - 19 Apr 2019
Abstract
MEDER 2018, the IFToMM International Symposium on Mechanism Design for Robotics, was the fourth event of a series that was started in 2010 as a specific conference activity on mechanisms for robots [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanism Design for Robotics) Printed Edition available

Research

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Open AccessArticle
On the Design of a Safe Human-Friendly Teleoperated System for Doppler Sonography
Robotics 2019, 8(2), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics8020029 - 15 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Variable stiffness actuators are employed to improve the safety features of robots that share a common workspace with humans. In this paper, a study of a joint variable stiffness device developed by PPRIME Institute—called V2SOM— for implementation in the joints of a multi-DoF [...] Read more.
Variable stiffness actuators are employed to improve the safety features of robots that share a common workspace with humans. In this paper, a study of a joint variable stiffness device developed by PPRIME Institute—called V2SOM— for implementation in the joints of a multi-DoF robot is presented. A comparison of the interaction forces produced by a rigid body robot and a flexible robot using the V2SOM is provided through a dynamic simulator of a 7-DoF robot. As an example of potential applications, robot-assisted Doppler echography is proposed, which mainly focuses on guaranteeing patient safety when the robot holding the ultrasound probe comes into contact with the patient. For this purpose, an evaluation of both joint and Cartesian control approaches is provided. The simulation results allow us to corroborate the effectiveness of the V2SOM device to guarantee human safety when it is implemented in a multi-DoF robot. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanism Design for Robotics) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
A Toolbox for the Analysis of the Grasp Stability of Underactuated Fingers
Robotics 2019, 8(2), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics8020026 - 06 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
In the design of humanoid robotic hands, it is important to evaluate the grasp stability, especially when the concept of underactuation is involved. The use of a number of degrees of actuation lower than the degrees of freedom has shown some advantages compared [...] Read more.
In the design of humanoid robotic hands, it is important to evaluate the grasp stability, especially when the concept of underactuation is involved. The use of a number of degrees of actuation lower than the degrees of freedom has shown some advantages compared to conventional solutions in terms of adaptivity, compactness, ease of control, and cost-effectiveness. However, limited attention has been devoted to the analysis of grasp performance. Some specific issues that need to be further investigated are, for example, the impact of the geometry of the fingers and the objects to be grasped and the value of the driving mechanical torques applied to the phalanges. This research proposes a software toolbox that is aimed to support a user towards an optimal design of underactuated fingers that satisfies stable and efficient grasp constraints. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
V2SOM: A Novel Safety Mechanism Dedicated to a Cobot’s Rotary Joints
Robotics 2019, 8(1), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics8010018 - 06 Mar 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Unlike “classical” industrial robots, collaborative robots, known as cobots, implement a compliant behavior. Cobots ensure a safe force control in a physical interaction scenario within unknown environments. In this paper, we propose to make serial robots intrinsically compliant to guarantee safe physical human–robot [...] Read more.
Unlike “classical” industrial robots, collaborative robots, known as cobots, implement a compliant behavior. Cobots ensure a safe force control in a physical interaction scenario within unknown environments. In this paper, we propose to make serial robots intrinsically compliant to guarantee safe physical human–robot interaction (pHRI), via our novel designed device called V2SOM, which stands for Variable Stiffness Safety-Oriented Mechanism. As its name indicates, V2SOM aims at making physical human–robot interaction safe, thanks to its two basic functioning modes—high stiffness mode and low stiffness mode. The first mode is employed for normal operational routines. In contrast, the low stiffness mode is suitable for the safe absorption of any potential blunt shock with a human. The transition between the two modes is continuous to maintain a good control of the V2SOM-based cobot in the case of a fast collision. V2SOM presents a high inertia decoupling capacity which is a necessary condition for safe pHRI without compromising the robot’s dynamic performances. Two safety criteria of pHRI were considered for performance evaluations, namely, the impact force (ImpF) criterion and the head injury criterion (HIC) for, respectively, the external and internal damage evaluation during blunt shocks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanism Design for Robotics) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Cable Failure Operation Strategy for a Rehabilitation Cable-Driven Robot
Robotics 2019, 8(1), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics8010017 - 06 Mar 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Cable-Driven Parallel Robots (CDPR) have attracted significant research interest for applications ranging from cable-suspended camera applications to rehabilitation and home assistance devices. Most of the intended applications of CDPR involve direct interaction with humans where safety is a key issue. Accordingly, this paper [...] Read more.
Cable-Driven Parallel Robots (CDPR) have attracted significant research interest for applications ranging from cable-suspended camera applications to rehabilitation and home assistance devices. Most of the intended applications of CDPR involve direct interaction with humans where safety is a key issue. Accordingly, this paper addresses the safety of CDPRs in proposing a strategy to minimize the consequences of cable failures. The proposed strategy consists of detecting a cable failure and avoiding any consequent motion of the end-effector. This is obtained by generating a wrench that is opposite to the direction of the ongoing motion so that the end-effector can reach a safe position. A general formulation is outlined as well as a specific case study referring to the LAWEX (LARM Wire-driven EXercising device), which has been designed within the AGEWELL project for limb rehabilitation. Real-time calculation is carried out for identifying feasible cable tensions, which generate a motion that provides the desired braking force. Simulations are carried out to prove the feasibility and effectiveness of the strategy outlined here in cases of cable failure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanism Design for Robotics) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Trajectory Design for Energy Savings in Redundant Robotic Cells
Robotics 2019, 8(1), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics8010015 - 20 Feb 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
This work explores the possibility of exploiting kinematic redundancy as a tool to enhance the energetic performance of a robotic cell. The test case under consideration comprises a three-degree-of-freedom Selective Compliance Assembly Robot Arm (SCARA) robot and an additional linear unit that is [...] Read more.
This work explores the possibility of exploiting kinematic redundancy as a tool to enhance the energetic performance of a robotic cell. The test case under consideration comprises a three-degree-of-freedom Selective Compliance Assembly Robot Arm (SCARA) robot and an additional linear unit that is used to move the workpiece during a pick and place operation. The trajectory design is based on a spline interpolation of a sequence of via-points: The corresponding motion of the joints is used to evaluate, through the use of an inverse dynamic model, the actuators effort and the associated power consumption by the robot and by the linear unit. Numerical results confirm that the suggested method can improve both the execution time and the overall energetic efficiency of the cell. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanism Design for Robotics) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Singularity Avoidance Control of a Non-Holonomic Mobile Manipulator for Intuitive Hand Guidance
Robotics 2019, 8(1), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics8010014 - 19 Feb 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Mobile manipulators are robot systems capable of combining logistics and manipulation tasks. They thus fulfill an important prerequisite for the integration into flexible manufacturing systems. Another essential feature required for modern production facilities is a user-friendly and intuitive human-machine interaction. In this work [...] Read more.
Mobile manipulators are robot systems capable of combining logistics and manipulation tasks. They thus fulfill an important prerequisite for the integration into flexible manufacturing systems. Another essential feature required for modern production facilities is a user-friendly and intuitive human-machine interaction. In this work the goal of code-less programming is addressed and an intuitive and safe approach to physically interact with such robot systems is derived. We present a natural approach for hand guiding a sensitive mobile manipulator in task space using a force torque sensor that is mount close to the end effector. The proposed control structure is capable of handling the kinematic redundancies of the system and avoid singular arm configurations by means of haptic feedback to the user. A detailed analysis of all possible singularities of the UR robot family is given and the functionality of the controller design is shown with laboratory experiments on our mobile manipulator. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanism Design for Robotics) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Use of McKibben Muscle in a Haptic Interface
Robotics 2019, 8(1), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics8010013 - 18 Feb 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
One of the most relevant issues in the development of a haptic interface is the choice of the actuators that are devoted to generating the reflection forces. This work has been particularly focused on the employment of the McKibben muscle to this aim. [...] Read more.
One of the most relevant issues in the development of a haptic interface is the choice of the actuators that are devoted to generating the reflection forces. This work has been particularly focused on the employment of the McKibben muscle to this aim. A prototype of one finger has been realized that is intended to be part of a haptic glove, and is based on an articulated mechanism driven by a McKibben muscle. A dynamic model of the finger has been created and validated; then, it has been used to define the control algorithm of the device. Experimental tests highlighted the static and dynamic effectiveness of the device and proved that a McKibben muscle can be appropriately used in such an application. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanism Design for Robotics) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Development of a Novel SMA-Driven Compliant Rotary Actuator Based on a Double Helical Structure
Robotics 2019, 8(1), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics8010012 - 18 Feb 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
This paper proposes a new shape memory alloy (SMA)-driven compliant rotary actuator that can perform both passive and self-actuated motions. This SMA actuator is suitable as a redundant actuation part in a parallel robot joint to assist with singularity postures where the robot [...] Read more.
This paper proposes a new shape memory alloy (SMA)-driven compliant rotary actuator that can perform both passive and self-actuated motions. This SMA actuator is suitable as a redundant actuation part in a parallel robot joint to assist with singularity postures where the robot might lose the ability to maintain the position and orientation of the end effector. The double helical compliant joint (DHCJ) was chosen as a candidate mechanism; it can act in soft compliance with linear characteristics and a wide range of motion. The experimental results validated that the proposed model can be used to simulate the DHCJ behavior. The use of this mechanism exhibits advantages such as one-axis rotational motion, linear behavior even for a compliant mechanism, stiffness in the other axes of motion, and compact size. SMA leaves (strips) were used as actuation parts, and a single SMA leaf was tested before combining with the double helical frame as an SMA actuator. The prototype was fabricated, and necessary parameters such as deflection angle, temperature, torque, and stress–strain were collected to define the model for a controller. This actuator is controlled by a feedforward controller and provides rotational motion for both forward and reverse sides with a maximal range of 40 degrees. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Comparison of Robot Wrist Implementations for the iCub Humanoid
Robotics 2019, 8(1), 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics8010011 - 17 Feb 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
This article provides a detailed comparative analysis of five orientational, two degrees of freedom (DOF) mechanisms whose envisioned application is the wrist of the iCub humanoid robot. Firstly, the current iCub mk.2 wrist implementation is presented, and the desired design objectives are proposed. [...] Read more.
This article provides a detailed comparative analysis of five orientational, two degrees of freedom (DOF) mechanisms whose envisioned application is the wrist of the iCub humanoid robot. Firstly, the current iCub mk.2 wrist implementation is presented, and the desired design objectives are proposed. Prominent architectures from literature such as the spherical five-bar linkage and spherical six-bar linkage, the OmniWrist-III and the Quaternion joint mechanisms are modeled and analyzed for the said application. Finally, a detailed comparison of their workspace features is presented. The Quaternion joint mechanism emerges as a promising candidate from this study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanism Design for Robotics) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Non-Photorealistic Rendering Techniques for Artistic Robotic Painting
Robotics 2019, 8(1), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics8010010 - 11 Feb 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
In this paper, we present non-photorealistic rendering techniques that are applied together with a painting robot to realize artworks with original styles. Our robotic painting system is called Busker Robot and it has been considered of interest in recent art fairs and international [...] Read more.
In this paper, we present non-photorealistic rendering techniques that are applied together with a painting robot to realize artworks with original styles. Our robotic painting system is called Busker Robot and it has been considered of interest in recent art fairs and international exhibitions. It consists of a six degree-of-freedom collaborative robot and a series of image processing and path planning algorithms. In particular, here, two different rendering techniques are presented and a description of the experimental set-up is carried out. Finally, the experimental results are discussed by analyzing the elements that can account for the aesthetic appreciation of the artworks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanism Design for Robotics) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Design and Experiments of a Novel Humanoid Robot with Parallel Architectures
Robotics 2018, 7(4), 79; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics7040079 - 04 Dec 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
In this paper, the mechanical design of the LARMbot 2, a low-cost user-oriented humanoid robot was presented. LARMbot 2 is characterized by parallel architectures for both the torso and legs. The proposed design was presented with the kinematics of its main parts—legs, torso, [...] Read more.
In this paper, the mechanical design of the LARMbot 2, a low-cost user-oriented humanoid robot was presented. LARMbot 2 is characterized by parallel architectures for both the torso and legs. The proposed design was presented with the kinematics of its main parts—legs, torso, arms—and then compared to its previous version, which was characterized by a different leg mechanism, to highlight the advantages of the latest design. A prototype was then presented, with constructive details of its subsystems and its technical specifications. To characterize the performance of the proposed robot, experimental results were presented for both the walking and weight-lifting operations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Locomotion of a Cylindrical Rolling Robot with a Shape Changing Outer Surface
Robotics 2018, 7(3), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics7030052 - 10 Sep 2018
Cited by 1
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
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Open AccessArticle
Stability and Gait Planning of 3-UPU Hexapod Walking Robot
Robotics 2018, 7(3), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics7030048 - 31 Aug 2018
Cited by 2
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
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