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Robotics, Volume 11, Issue 6 (December 2022) – 39 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Automation of sampling and harvesting processes is key in the field of precision agriculture because it increases the range of potential application scenarios. This work describes the design of an innovative underactuated tool for the autonomous harvesting of grapes. The tool is intended to be one of many that a robotic manipulator could grasp. The presented tool is designed specifically for the gripper of the robotic arm mounted on the rover Agri.Q, a service robot for agriculture, but it is easily adaptable to other robotic arm grippers. In this work, the functional design is presented after the requirements are established. A dimensionless analysis is carried out to help with the design. The final design is then implemented, and the results of an experimental validation test are shown. View this paper
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19 pages, 2263 KiB  
Article
A Novel Gripper with Integrated Rotary Unit and Force Control for Pick and Place Applications
by Alexey M. Romanov, Ntmitrii Gyrichidi and Mikhail P. Romanov
Robotics 2022, 11(6), 155; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics11060155 - 18 Dec 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2713
Abstract
Modern electrical grippers have lower life-cycle costs compared to pneumatic ones. Furthermore, they provide force control, making it possible to grasp objects with different fragility using a single device. At the same time, electrical grippers have a higher end-effector weight, installed on the [...] Read more.
Modern electrical grippers have lower life-cycle costs compared to pneumatic ones. Furthermore, they provide force control, making it possible to grasp objects with different fragility using a single device. At the same time, electrical grippers have a higher end-effector weight, installed on the robot’s flange and lower closing speed, preventing them from replacing pneumatic solutions in high dynamic Pick and Place applications. This research faces both issues by synthesizing a novel gripper mechanism based on a Torque Distribution Gearbox, which makes it possible to relocate the electric motors to the static frame of a delta robot. The proposed gripper not only has a lower mass and a higher closing speed than competitive electric solutions, but it also provides unlimited rotation around the vertical axis. The performance of the gripper was tested in experimental studies, which showed that a created aluminum prototype provides a precise force control in the range from 3 N to 48 N with an accuracy not worse than 1.27 N. Moreover, its finger’s speed is 3.1–56 times higher than market available electrical grippers, which makes it comparable by this parameter with pneumatic solutions used in high dynamic Pick and Place applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Kinematics and Robot Design V, KaRD2022)
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17 pages, 2443 KiB  
Article
Planar Model for Vibration Analysis of Cable Rehabilitation Robots
by Giacomo Zuccon, Alberto Doria, Matteo Bottin and Giulio Rosati
Robotics 2022, 11(6), 154; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics11060154 - 18 Dec 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1635
Abstract
Cable robots are widely used in the field of rehabilitation. These robots differ from other cable robots because the cables are rather short and are usually equipped with magnetic hooks to improve the ease of use. The vibrations of rehabilitation robots are dominated [...] Read more.
Cable robots are widely used in the field of rehabilitation. These robots differ from other cable robots because the cables are rather short and are usually equipped with magnetic hooks to improve the ease of use. The vibrations of rehabilitation robots are dominated by the effects of the hooks and payloads, whereas the cables behave as massless springs. In this paper, a 2D model of the cables of a robot that simulates both longitudinal and transverse vibrations is developed and experimentally validated. Then the model is extended to simulate the vibrations of an actual 3D robot in the symmetry planes. Finally, the calculated modal properties (natural frequencies and modes of vibration) are compared with the typical spectrum of excitation due to the cable’s motion. Only the first transverse mode can be excited during the rehabilitation exercise. Full article
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18 pages, 1215 KiB  
Article
Escaping Local Minima via Appraisal Driven Responses
by Malte Rørmose Damgaard, Rasmus Pedersen and Thomas Bak
Robotics 2022, 11(6), 153; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics11060153 - 16 Dec 2022
Viewed by 1452
Abstract
Inspired by the reflective and deliberative control mechanisms used in cognitive architectures such as SOAR and Sigma, we propose an alternative decision mechanism driven by architectural appraisals allowing robots to overcome impasses. The presented work builds on and improves on our previous work [...] Read more.
Inspired by the reflective and deliberative control mechanisms used in cognitive architectures such as SOAR and Sigma, we propose an alternative decision mechanism driven by architectural appraisals allowing robots to overcome impasses. The presented work builds on and improves on our previous work on a generally applicable decision mechanism with roots in the Standard Model of the Mind and the Generalized Cognitive Hour-glass Model. The proposed decision mechanism provides automatic context-dependent switching between exploration-oriented, goal-oriented, and backtracking behavior, allowing a robot to overcome impasses. A simulation study of two applications utilizing the proposed decision mechanism is presented demonstrating the applicability of the proposed decision mechanism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Intelligent Robots and Mechatronics)
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14 pages, 5110 KiB  
Article
Application of Half-Derivative Damping to Cartesian Space Position Control of a SCARA-like Manipulator
by Luca Bruzzone and Shahab Edin Nodehi
Robotics 2022, 11(6), 152; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics11060152 - 16 Dec 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1914
Abstract
In classical Cartesian space position control, KD, the end-effector follows the set-point trajectory with a stiffness expressed in the directions of the external coordinates through the stiffness matrix, K, and with a damping proportional to the first-order derivatives of errors of the external [...] Read more.
In classical Cartesian space position control, KD, the end-effector follows the set-point trajectory with a stiffness expressed in the directions of the external coordinates through the stiffness matrix, K, and with a damping proportional to the first-order derivatives of errors of the external coordinates through the damping matrix, D. This work deals with a fractional-order extension of the Cartesian space position control, KDHD, which is characterized by an additional damping term, proportional to the half-order derivatives of the errors of the external coordinates through a second damping matrix, HD. The proposed Cartesian position control scheme is applied to a SCARA-like serial manipulator with elastic compensation of gravity. Multibody simulation results show that the proposed scheme was able to reduce the tracking error, in terms of mean absolute value of the end-effector position error and Integral Square Error, with the same amount of Integral Control Effort and comparable maximum actuation torques. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Kinematics and Robot Design V, KaRD2022)
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15 pages, 2270 KiB  
Article
Feasibility and Application of the B.E.A.T. Testbed for Assessing the Effects of Lower Limb Exoskeletons on Human Balance
by Ilaria Mileti, Juri Taborri, David Rodriguez-Cianca, Diego Torricelli, Stefano Rossi and Fabrizio Patanè
Robotics 2022, 11(6), 151; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics11060151 - 15 Dec 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1605
Abstract
Assessing the performance of exoskeletons in assisting human balance is important for their design process. This study proposes a novel testbed, the B.E.A.T (Balance Evaluation Automated Testbed) to address this aim. We applied the B.E.A.T to evaluate how the presence of a lower [...] Read more.
Assessing the performance of exoskeletons in assisting human balance is important for their design process. This study proposes a novel testbed, the B.E.A.T (Balance Evaluation Automated Testbed) to address this aim. We applied the B.E.A.T to evaluate how the presence of a lower limb exoskeleton influenced human balance. The B.E.A.T. consists of a robotic platform, standardized protocols, and performance indicators. Fifteen healthy subjects were enrolled and subjected to repeatable step-type ground perturbations in different directions using the multi-axis robotic platform. Each participant performed three trials, both with and without the exoskeleton (EXO and No-EXO conditions). Nine performance indicators, divided into kinematic and body stability indicators, were computed. The reliability of performance indicators was assessed by computing the Inter Class Correlation (ICC). The indicators showed good (0.60 ≤ ICC < 0.75) to excellent (ICC ≥ 0.75) reliability. The comparison between the EXO and No-EXO conditions revealed a significant increase in the joint range of motion and the center of pressure displacement while wearing the exoskeleton. The main differences between the EXO and No-EXO conditions were found in the range of motion of the knee joints, with an increment up to 17° in the sagittal plane. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Medical Robotics and Service Robotics)
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12 pages, 3965 KiB  
Article
Integrating the Generative Adversarial Network for Decision Making in Reinforcement Learning for Industrial Robot Agents
by Neelabh Paul, Vaibhav Tasgaonkar, Rahee Walambe and Ketan Kotecha
Robotics 2022, 11(6), 150; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics11060150 - 9 Dec 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2081
Abstract
Many robotics systems carrying certain payloads are employed in manufacturing industries for pick and place tasks. The system experiences inefficiency if more or less weight is introduced. If a different payload is introduced (either due to a change in the load or a [...] Read more.
Many robotics systems carrying certain payloads are employed in manufacturing industries for pick and place tasks. The system experiences inefficiency if more or less weight is introduced. If a different payload is introduced (either due to a change in the load or a change in the parameters of the robot system), the robot must be re-trained with the new weight/parameters and the new network must be trained. Parameters such as the robot weight, length of limbs, or new payload may vary for an agent depending on the circumstance. Parameter changes pose a problem to the agent in achieving the same goal it is expected to achieve with the original parameters. Hence, it becomes mandatory to re-train the agent with the new parameters in order for it to achieve its goal. This research proposes a novel framework for the adaption of varying conditions on a robot agent in a given simulated environment without any retraining. Utilizing the properties of Generative Adversarial Network (GAN), the agent is able to train only once with reinforcement learning and by tweaking the noise vector of the generator in the GAN network, the agent can adapt to new conditions accordingly and demonstrate similar performance as if it were trained with the new physical attributes using reinforcement learning. A simple CartPole environment is considered for the experimentation, and it is shown that with the propose approached the agent remains stable for more iterations. The approach can be extended to the real world in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Industrial Robotics in Industry 4.0)
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16 pages, 1140 KiB  
Article
Partial Lagrangian for Efficient Extension and Reconstruction of Multi-DoF Systems and Efficient Analysis Using Automatic Differentiation
by Takashi Kusaka and Takayuki Tanaka
Robotics 2022, 11(6), 149; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics11060149 - 9 Dec 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2135
Abstract
In the fields of control engineering and robotics, either the Lagrange or Newton–Euler method is generally used to analyze and design systems using equations of motion. Although the Lagrange method can obtain analytical solutions, it is difficult to handle in multi-degree-of-freedom systems because [...] Read more.
In the fields of control engineering and robotics, either the Lagrange or Newton–Euler method is generally used to analyze and design systems using equations of motion. Although the Lagrange method can obtain analytical solutions, it is difficult to handle in multi-degree-of-freedom systems because the computational complexity increases explosively as the number of degrees of freedom increases. Conversely, the Newton–Euler method requires less computation even for multi-degree-of-freedom systems, but it cannot obtain an analytical solution. Therefore, we propose a partial Lagrange method that can handle the Lagrange equation efficiently even for multi-degree-of-freedom systems by using a divide-and-conquer approach. The proposed method can easily handle system extensions and system reconstructions, such as changes to intermediate links, for multi-degree-of-freedom serial link manipulators. In addition, the proposed method facilitates the derivation of the equations of motion-by-hand calculations, and when combined with an analysis algorithm using automatic differentiation, it can easily realize motion analysis and control the simulation of multi-degree-of-freedom models. Using multiple pendulums as examples, we confirm the effectiveness of system expansion and system reconstruction with the partial Lagrangians. The derivation of their equations of motion and the results of motion analysis by simulation and motion control experiments are presented. The system extensions and reconstructions proposed herein can be used simultaneously with conventional analytical methods, allowing manual derivations of equations of motion and numerical computer simulations to be performed more efficiently. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Kinematics and Robot Design V, KaRD2022)
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33 pages, 1413 KiB  
Article
Mutli-Robot Cooperative Object Transportation with Guaranteed Safety and Convergence in Planar Obstacle Cluttered Workspaces via Configuration Space Decomposition
by Panagiotis Vlantis, Charalampos P. Bechlioulis and Kostas J. Kyriakopoulos
Robotics 2022, 11(6), 148; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics11060148 - 9 Dec 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1518
Abstract
In this work, we consider the autonomous object transportation problem employing a team of mobile manipulators within a compact planar workspace with obstacles. As the object is allowed to translate and rotate and each robot is equipped with a manipulator consisting of one [...] Read more.
In this work, we consider the autonomous object transportation problem employing a team of mobile manipulators within a compact planar workspace with obstacles. As the object is allowed to translate and rotate and each robot is equipped with a manipulator consisting of one or more moving links, the overall system (object and mobile manipulators) should adapt its shape in a flexible way so that it fulfills the transportation task with safety. To this end, we built a sequence of configuration space cells, each of which defines an allowable set of configurations of the object, as well as explicit intervals for each manipulator’s states. Furthermore, appropriately designed under- and over-approximations of the free configuration space are used in an innovative way to guide the configuration space’s exploration without loss of completeness. In addition, we coupled methodologies based on Reference Governors and Prescribed Performance Control with harmonic maps, in order to design a distributed control law for implementing the transitions specified by the high-level planner, which possesses guaranteed invariance and global convergence properties, thus avoiding the requirement for synchronized motion as inherently dictated by the majority of the related works. Furthermore, the proposed low-level control law does not require continuous information exchange between the robots, which rely only on measurements of the object’s configuration and their own states. Finally, a transportation scenario within a complex warehouse workspace demonstrates the proposed approach and verifies its efficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Industrial Robotics and Intelligent Systems)
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14 pages, 2159 KiB  
Article
Modeling of a Non-Rigid Passive Exoskeleton-Mathematical Description and Musculoskeletal Simulations
by Matteo Musso, Anderson Souza Oliveira and Shaoping Bai
Robotics 2022, 11(6), 147; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics11060147 - 7 Dec 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2084
Abstract
There is a growing application of passive exoskeletons in the industrial sector with the purpose to reduce the incidence of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Nowadays, while many passive shoulder exoskeletons have been developed to support overhead tasks, they present limitations in supporting tasks [...] Read more.
There is a growing application of passive exoskeletons in the industrial sector with the purpose to reduce the incidence of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Nowadays, while many passive shoulder exoskeletons have been developed to support overhead tasks, they present limitations in supporting tasks such as load lifting and carrying. Further developments are therefore needed to have a wider application of these devices in the industrial sector. This paper presents a modelling procedure of a passive non-rigid exoskeleton for shoulder support that can be used to evaluate the device in its development phase. The modelling began with the definition of the equations to describe the exoskeleton kinematics and dynamics to obtain the support force profile provided by the device over the shoulder flexion angle. A musculoskeletal simulation software was then used to evaluate the effect of the device on the human body. The computed support force profile is in agreement with the purpose of the device, with the maximal support force obtained for a shoulder flexion angle of 85–90°. The maximum support force value had the same magnitude as the one reported by the device user manual (3.5 kg). In particular, for a determined exoskeleton configuration, the maximum support force value computed was 34.3 N, equal to the reported by the manufacturer. The subsequent musculoskeletal simulation showed the ability of the device to reduce the muscular activation of agonist muscles such as the anterior deltoid (−36.01%) compared to the case when the exoskeleton is not used. The musculoskeletal results showed a positive effect of the device on the joint reaction forces at the glenohumeral joint with a reduction up to 41.91%. Overall the methodology and the mathematical model proposed can be used to further develop these devices, making them suitable for a wider range of tasks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Medical Robotics and Service Robotics)
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10 pages, 5106 KiB  
Article
Stretchable and Compliant Sensing of Strain, Pressure and Vibration of Soft Deformable Structures
by Darren Zi Hian Yeo, Catherine Jiayi Cai, Po-Yen Chen and Hongliang Ren
Robotics 2022, 11(6), 146; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics11060146 - 6 Dec 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1696
Abstract
Soft robotic and medical devices will greatly benefit from stretchable and compliant pressure sensors that can detect deformation and contact forces for control and task safety. In addition to traditional 2D buckling via planar substrates, 3D buckling via curved substrates has emerged as [...] Read more.
Soft robotic and medical devices will greatly benefit from stretchable and compliant pressure sensors that can detect deformation and contact forces for control and task safety. In addition to traditional 2D buckling via planar substrates, 3D buckling via curved substrates has emerged as an alternative approach to generate tunable and highly convoluted hierarchical wrinkle morphologies. Such wrinkles may provide advantages in pressure sensing, such as increased sensitivity, ultra-stretchability, and detecting changing curvatures. In this work, we fabricated stretchable sensors using wrinkled MXene electrodes obtained from 3D buckling. We then characterized the sensors’ performance in detecting strain, pressure, and vibrations. The fabricated wrinkled MXene electrode exhibited high stretchability of up to 250% and has a strain sensitivity of 0.1 between 0 and 80%. The fabricated bilayer MXene pressure sensor exhibited a pressure sensitivity of 0.935 kPa−1 and 0.188 kPa−1 at the lower (<0.25 kPa) and higher-pressure regimes (0.25 kPa–2.0 kPa), respectively. The recovery and response timing of the wrinkled MXene pressure sensor was found to be 250 ms and 400 ms, respectively. The sensor was also capable of detecting changing curvatures upon mounting onto an inflating balloon. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Editorial Board Members' Collection Series: "Soft Robotics")
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14 pages, 5533 KiB  
Article
Design and Prototyping of an Interchangeable and Underactuated Tool for Automatic Harvesting
by Giuseppe Quaglia, Luigi Tagliavini, Giovanni Colucci, Ardit Vorfi, Andrea Botta and Lorenzo Baglieri
Robotics 2022, 11(6), 145; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics11060145 - 6 Dec 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2111
Abstract
In the field of precision agriculture, the automation of sampling and harvesting operations plays a central role to expand the possible application scenarios. Within this context, this work presents the design and prototyping of a novel underactuated tool for the harvesting of autonomous [...] Read more.
In the field of precision agriculture, the automation of sampling and harvesting operations plays a central role to expand the possible application scenarios. Within this context, this work presents the design and prototyping of a novel underactuated tool for the harvesting of autonomous grapevines. The device is conceived to be one of several tools that could be automatically grasped by a robotic manipulator. As a use case, the presented tool is customized for the gripper of the robotic arm mounted on the rover Agri.Q, a service robot conceived for agriculture automation, but it can be easily adapted to other robotic arm grippers. In this work, first, the requirements for such a device are defined, then the functional design is presented, and a dimensionless analysis is performed to guide the dimensioning of the device. Later, the executive design is carried out, while the results of a preliminary experimental validation test are illustrated at the end of the paper. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Robotics and AI for Precision Agriculture)
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32 pages, 18847 KiB  
Article
Perception, Path Planning, and Flight Control for a Drone-Enabled Autonomous Pollination System
by Chapel Reid Rice, Spencer Thomas McDonald, Yang Shi, Hao Gan, Won Suk Lee, Yang Chen and Zhenbo Wang
Robotics 2022, 11(6), 144; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics11060144 - 5 Dec 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2665
Abstract
The decline of natural pollinators necessitates the development of novel pollination technologies. In this work, we propose a drone-enabled autonomous pollination system (APS) that consists of five primary modules: environment sensing, flower perception, path planning, flight control, and pollination mechanisms. These modules are [...] Read more.
The decline of natural pollinators necessitates the development of novel pollination technologies. In this work, we propose a drone-enabled autonomous pollination system (APS) that consists of five primary modules: environment sensing, flower perception, path planning, flight control, and pollination mechanisms. These modules are highly dependent upon each other, with each module relying on inputs from the other modules. In this paper, we focus on approaches to the flower perception, path planning, and flight control modules. First, we briefly introduce a flower perception method from our previous work to create a map of flower locations. With a map of flowers, APS path planning is defined as a variant of the Travelling Salesman Problem (TSP). Two path planning approaches are compared based on mixed-integer programming (MIP) and genetic algorithms (GA), respectively. The GA approach is chosen as the superior approach due to the vast computational savings with negligible loss of optimality. To accurately follow the generated path for pollination, we develop a convex optimization approach to the quadrotor flight control problem (QFCP). This approach solves two convex problems. The first problem is a convexified three degree-of-freedom QFCP. The solution to this problem is used as an initial guess to the second convex problem, which is a linearized six degree-of-freedom QFCP. It is found that changing the objective of the second convex problem to minimize the deviation from the initial guess provides improved physical feasibility and solutions similar to a general-purpose optimizer. The path planning and flight control approaches are then tested within a model predictive control (MPC) framework where significant computational savings and embedded adjustments to uncertainty are observed. Coupling the two modules together provides a simple demonstration of how the entire APS will operate in practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aerial Robotics and Applications of UAS)
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42 pages, 6099 KiB  
Review
Gecko-Inspired Adhesive Mechanisms and Adhesives for Robots—A Review
by Soumya Sikdar, Md Hafizur Rahman, Arpith Siddaiah and Pradeep L. Menezes
Robotics 2022, 11(6), 143; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics11060143 - 4 Dec 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 6345
Abstract
Small living organisms such as lizards possess naturally built functional surface textures that enable them to walk or climb on versatile surface topographies. Bio-mimicking the surface characteristics of these geckos has enormous potential to improve the accessibility of modern robotics. Therefore, gecko-inspired adhesives [...] Read more.
Small living organisms such as lizards possess naturally built functional surface textures that enable them to walk or climb on versatile surface topographies. Bio-mimicking the surface characteristics of these geckos has enormous potential to improve the accessibility of modern robotics. Therefore, gecko-inspired adhesives have significant industrial applications, including robotic endoscopy, bio-medical cleaning, medical bandage tapes, rock climbing adhesives, tissue adhesives, etc. As a result, synthetic adhesives have been developed by researchers, in addition to dry fibrillary adhesives, elastomeric adhesives, electrostatic adhesives, and thermoplastic adhesives. All these adhesives represent significant contributions towards robotic grippers and gloves, depending on the nature of the application. However, these adhesives often exhibit limitations in the form of fouling, wear, and tear, which restrict their functionalities and load-carrying capabilities in the natural environment. Therefore, it is essential to summarize the state of the art attributes of contemporary studies to extend the ongoing work in this field. This review summarizes different adhesion mechanisms involving gecko-inspired adhesives and attempts to explain the parameters and limitations which have impacts on adhesion. Additionally, different novel adhesive fabrication techniques such as replica molding, 3D direct laser writing, dip transfer processing, fused deposition modeling, and digital light processing are encapsulated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Frontiers in Bionic and Flexible Robotics)
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17 pages, 20517 KiB  
Article
Place Recognition with Memorable and Stable Cues for Loop Closure of Visual SLAM Systems
by Rafiqul Islam and Habibullah Habibullah
Robotics 2022, 11(6), 142; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics11060142 - 4 Dec 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1772
Abstract
Visual Place Recognition (VPR) is a fundamental yet challenging task in Visual Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (V-SLAM) problems. The VPR works as a subsystem of the V-SLAM. VPR is the task of retrieving images upon revisiting the same place in different conditions. The [...] Read more.
Visual Place Recognition (VPR) is a fundamental yet challenging task in Visual Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (V-SLAM) problems. The VPR works as a subsystem of the V-SLAM. VPR is the task of retrieving images upon revisiting the same place in different conditions. The problem is even more difficult for agricultural and all-terrain autonomous mobile robots that work in different scenarios and weather conditions. Over the last few years, many state-of-the-art methods have been proposed to solve the limitations of existing VPR techniques. VPR using bag-of-words obtained from local features works well for a large-scale image retrieval problem. However, the aggregation of local features arbitrarily produces a large bag-of-words vector database, limits the capability of efficient feature learning, and aggregation and querying of candidate images. Moreover, aggregating arbitrary features is inefficient as not all local features equally contribute to long-term place recognition tasks. Therefore, a novel VPR architecture is proposed suitable for efficient place recognition with semantically meaningful local features and their 3D geometrical verifications. The proposed end-to-end architecture is fueled by a deep neural network, a bag-of-words database, and 3D geometrical verification for place recognition. This method is aware of meaningful and informative features of images for better scene understanding. Later, 3D geometrical information from the corresponding meaningful features is computed and utilised for verifying correct place recognition. The proposed method is tested on four well-known public datasets, and Micro Aerial Vehicle (MAV) recorded dataset for experimental validation from Victoria Park, Adelaide, Australia. The extensive experimental results considering standard evaluation metrics for VPR show that the proposed method produces superior performance than the available state-of-the-art methods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural and Field Robotics)
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27 pages, 1843 KiB  
Communication
Important Preliminary Insights for Designing Successful Communication between a Robotic Learning Assistant and Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Germany
by Aike C. Horstmann, Lisa Mühl, Louisa Köppen, Maike Lindhaus, Dunja Storch, Monika Bühren, Hanns Rüdiger Röttgers and Jarek Krajewski
Robotics 2022, 11(6), 141; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics11060141 - 4 Dec 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2747
Abstract
Early therapeutic intervention programs help children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to improve their socio-emotional and functional skills. To relieve the children’s caregivers while ensuring that the children are adequately supported in their training exercises, new technologies may offer suitable solutions. This [...] Read more.
Early therapeutic intervention programs help children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to improve their socio-emotional and functional skills. To relieve the children’s caregivers while ensuring that the children are adequately supported in their training exercises, new technologies may offer suitable solutions. This study investigates the potential of a robotic learning assistant which is planned to monitor the children’s state of engagement and to intervene with appropriate motivational nudges when necessary. To analyze stakeholder requirements, interviews with parents as well as therapists of children with ASD were conducted. Besides a general positive attitude towards the usage of new technologies, we received some important insights for the design of the robot and its interaction with the children. One strongly accentuated aspect was the robot’s adequate and context-specific communication behavior, which we plan to address via an AI-based engagement detection system. Further aspects comprise for instance customizability, adaptability, and variability of the robot’s behavior, which should further be not too distracting while still being highly predictable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Communication with Social Robots)
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33 pages, 8756 KiB  
Article
Three-Dimensional Printing of Cylindrical Nozzle Elements of Bernoulli Gripping Devices for Industrial Robots
by Roman Mykhailyshyn, František Duchoň, Mykhailo Mykhailyshyn and Ann Majewicz Fey
Robotics 2022, 11(6), 140; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics11060140 - 3 Dec 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1900
Abstract
The application of additive technologies, namely, fused deposition modeling, is a new reality for prototyping gripping devices of industrial robots. However, during 3D printing of holes and nozzle elements, difficulties arise with reducing their diameter. Therefore, this article conducts a comprehensive study of [...] Read more.
The application of additive technologies, namely, fused deposition modeling, is a new reality for prototyping gripping devices of industrial robots. However, during 3D printing of holes and nozzle elements, difficulties arise with reducing their diameter. Therefore, this article conducts a comprehensive study of the Bernoulli gripping device prototype with a cylindrical nozzle, manufactured by fused deposition modeling 3D printing. The three main reasons for reducing the diameter of the gripper nozzle after printing were due to the poor-quality model, excessive extrusion of plastic in the middle of the arc printing path, and linear shrinkage of printing material after cooling. The proposed methodology consisted of determining the three coefficients that allowed the determination of the diameter of the designed nozzle. The use of air pressure distributions on the surface of the manipulation object, and lifting forces of gripping devices with different 3D printing layer heights were found. It was experimentally determined that as the height of the printing layer increased, the lifting force decreased. This was due to the formation of swirls due to the increased roughness of the grip surface. It was proven that as the height between the manipulation object and the grip increased, the effect of surface roughness on the lifting force decreased, resulting in an increase in the lifting force. Determination of the rational operating parameters of gripping devices manufactured by 3D printing from the point of view of maximum lifting force, were determined. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Grasping and Motion Control Solutions)
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20 pages, 2189 KiB  
Review
A Comprehensive Review of Vision-Based Robotic Applications: Current State, Components, Approaches, Barriers, and Potential Solutions
by Md Tanzil Shahria, Md Samiul Haque Sunny, Md Ishrak Islam Zarif, Jawhar Ghommam, Sheikh Iqbal Ahamed and Mohammad H Rahman
Robotics 2022, 11(6), 139; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics11060139 - 2 Dec 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 6947
Abstract
Being an emerging technology, robotic manipulation has encountered tremendous advancements due to technological developments starting from using sensors to artificial intelligence. Over the decades, robotic manipulation has advanced in terms of the versatility and flexibility of mobile robot platforms. Thus, robots are now [...] Read more.
Being an emerging technology, robotic manipulation has encountered tremendous advancements due to technological developments starting from using sensors to artificial intelligence. Over the decades, robotic manipulation has advanced in terms of the versatility and flexibility of mobile robot platforms. Thus, robots are now capable of interacting with the world around them. To interact with the real world, robots require various sensory inputs from their surroundings, and the use of vision is rapidly increasing nowadays, as vision is unquestionably a rich source of information for a robotic system. In recent years, robotic manipulators have made significant progress towards achieving human-like abilities. There is still a large gap between human and robot dexterity, especially when it comes to executing complex and long-lasting manipulations. This paper comprehensively investigates the state-of-the-art development of vision-based robotic application, which includes the current state, components, and approaches used along with the algorithms with respect to the control and application of robots. Furthermore, a comprehensive analysis of those vision-based applied algorithms, their effectiveness, and their complexity has been enlightened here. To conclude, there is a discussion over the constraints while performing the research and potential solutions to develop a robust and accurate vision-based robot manipulation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Embodied AI: From Robots to Smart Objects)
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13 pages, 3542 KiB  
Review
A Narrative Review on Wearable Inertial Sensors for Human Motion Tracking in Industrial Scenarios
by Elisa Digo, Stefano Pastorelli and Laura Gastaldi
Robotics 2022, 11(6), 138; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics11060138 - 2 Dec 2022
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2620
Abstract
Industry 4.0 has promoted the concept of automation, supporting workers with robots while maintaining their central role in the factory. To guarantee the safety of operators and improve the effectiveness of the human-robot interaction, it is important to detect the movements of the [...] Read more.
Industry 4.0 has promoted the concept of automation, supporting workers with robots while maintaining their central role in the factory. To guarantee the safety of operators and improve the effectiveness of the human-robot interaction, it is important to detect the movements of the workers. Wearable inertial sensors represent a suitable technology to pursue this goal because of their portability, low cost, and minimal invasiveness. The aim of this narrative review was to analyze the state-of-the-art literature exploiting inertial sensors to track the human motion in different industrial scenarios. The Scopus database was queried, and 54 articles were selected. Some important aspects were identified: (i) number of publications per year; (ii) aim of the studies; (iii) body district involved in the motion tracking; (iv) number of adopted inertial sensors; (v) presence/absence of a technology combined to the inertial sensors; (vi) a real-time analysis; (vii) the inclusion/exclusion of the magnetometer in the sensor fusion process. Moreover, an analysis and a discussion of these aspects was also developed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human Factors in Human–Robot Interaction)
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14 pages, 2881 KiB  
Article
Singularity Analysis and Complete Methods to Compute the Inverse Kinematics for a 6-DOF UR/TM-Type Robot
by Jessica Villalobos, Irma Y. Sanchez and Fernando Martell
Robotics 2022, 11(6), 137; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics11060137 - 29 Nov 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 5726
Abstract
Improving the strategies employed to control robotic arms is of great importance because of the increase in their use in advanced supervisory control strategies, such as digital twins. The inverse kinematic (IK) control of manipulators requires an IK solution and an awareness of [...] Read more.
Improving the strategies employed to control robotic arms is of great importance because of the increase in their use in advanced supervisory control strategies, such as digital twins. The inverse kinematic (IK) control of manipulators requires an IK solution and an awareness of the singular configurations. This work presents a complete IK calculation system with singularity analysis for the UR5 robotic arm created by Universal Robots. For a specific robot pose, different angle solution sets are obtained, and one of these solution sets has to be selected to achieve movement continuity and avoid singularities. Two methods for this double purpose are proposed: one calculates all the solution possibilities, and the other obtains only one solution set by following a sequence of decisions and calculations clearly stated by a finite state machine (FSM). Both methods are effective in managing singularities. The FSM-based method complements the IK solution procedure with advantages in the number of computations and performance by producing results that would not lead the joints to move abruptly. The results prove that the presented methods select an IK solution that does not result in a singular configuration, and that most of the time, they lead to the same valid IK solution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Kinematics and Robot Design V, KaRD2022)
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23 pages, 14528 KiB  
Article
Edge AI-Based Tree Trunk Detection for Forestry Monitoring Robotics
by Daniel Queirós da Silva, Filipe Neves dos Santos, Vítor Filipe, Armando Jorge Sousa and Paulo Moura Oliveira
Robotics 2022, 11(6), 136; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics11060136 - 27 Nov 2022
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3285
Abstract
Object identification, such as tree trunk detection, is fundamental for forest robotics. Intelligent vision systems are of paramount importance in order to improve robotic perception, thus enhancing the autonomy of forest robots. To that purpose, this paper presents three contributions: an open dataset [...] Read more.
Object identification, such as tree trunk detection, is fundamental for forest robotics. Intelligent vision systems are of paramount importance in order to improve robotic perception, thus enhancing the autonomy of forest robots. To that purpose, this paper presents three contributions: an open dataset of 5325 annotated forest images; a tree trunk detection Edge AI benchmark between 13 deep learning models evaluated on four edge-devices (CPU, TPU, GPU and VPU); and a tree trunk mapping experiment using an OAK-D as a sensing device. The results showed that YOLOR was the most reliable trunk detector, achieving a maximum F1 score around 90% while maintaining high scores for different confidence levels; in terms of inference time, YOLOv4 Tiny was the fastest model, attaining 1.93 ms on the GPU. YOLOv7 Tiny presented the best trade-off between detection accuracy and speed, with average inference times under 4 ms on the GPU considering different input resolutions and at the same time achieving an F1 score similar to YOLOR. This work will enable the development of advanced artificial vision systems for robotics in forestry monitoring operations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Robotics and AI for Precision Agriculture)
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9 pages, 2232 KiB  
Article
Compliant and Flexible Robotic System with Parallel Continuum Mechanism for Transoral Surgery: A Pilot Cadaveric Study
by Changsheng Li, Xiaoyi Gu, Xiao Xiao, Chwee Ming Lim and Hongliang Ren
Robotics 2022, 11(6), 135; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics11060135 - 25 Nov 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2523
Abstract
As one of the minimally invasive surgeries (MIS), transoral robotic surgery (TORS) contributes to excellent oncological and functional outcomes. This paper introduces a compliant and flexible robotic system for transoral surgery, consisting of an execution part with flexible parallel mechanisms and a positioning [...] Read more.
As one of the minimally invasive surgeries (MIS), transoral robotic surgery (TORS) contributes to excellent oncological and functional outcomes. This paper introduces a compliant and flexible robotic system for transoral surgery, consisting of an execution part with flexible parallel mechanisms and a positioning part with a continuum structure. A pilot cadaveric study that mimics the procedure of the TORS using an intact cadaveric human head was conducted to evaluate the feasibility and efficiency of this robotic system. Both the initial setup time and the time cost by the robot to safely access the deep surgical area in the upper aerodigestive tract are shortened due to the enlarged workspace, compact structure, and increased flexibility. The proposed surgical robotic system is preliminarily demonstrated to be feasible for TORS, especially for the in-depth surgical sites in the upper aerodigestive tract. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Medical Robotics and Service Robotics)
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12 pages, 423 KiB  
Brief Report
Learning Support Teachers’ Intention to Use Educational Robotics: The Role of Perception of Usefulness and Adaptability
by Silvia Di Battista, Monica Pivetti and Michele Moro
Robotics 2022, 11(6), 134; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics11060134 - 22 Nov 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1424
Abstract
The implementation of Educational Robotics (ER) with special needs students (SNS) has been found to be helpful for knowledge improvement, by keeping students engaged and decreasing the risks of social exclusion. The present study aimed to investigate the relationship between learning support teachers’ [...] Read more.
The implementation of Educational Robotics (ER) with special needs students (SNS) has been found to be helpful for knowledge improvement, by keeping students engaged and decreasing the risks of social exclusion. The present study aimed to investigate the relationship between learning support teachers’ (LST) perceptions about ER (i.e., perceptions of usefulness and adaptability) and intention to use ER with SNS. The data were collected via a questionnaire administered to 187 teachers at the end of a post-degree specialisation course. The results showed that LST perceived ER as highly useful for any typology of SNS; however, their perceptions of the usefulness of ER were stronger than their intention to use ER, particularly in the case of neurodevelopmental disabilities. In this case, participants reported that ER is less adaptable than useful and less adaptable with neurodevelopmental disorders than with socio-economic, cultural and linguistic disadvantages. Hierarchical multiple regressions showed that the intention to use ER for neurodevelopmental disorders was predicted by the perception of adaptability and the teacher’s level of experience with ER. As for socio-economic, cultural and linguistic disadvantages, the intention to use ER was predicted by the perception of usefulness and adaptability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Educational Robotics)
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28 pages, 877 KiB  
Article
The Effect of Sideslip on Jackknife Limits during Low Speed Trailer Operation
by Zhe Leng, Yue Wang, Ming Xin and Mark A. Minor
Robotics 2022, 11(6), 133; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics11060133 - 22 Nov 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1376
Abstract
Jackknifing refers to the serious situation where a vehicle-trailer system enters a jackknife state and the vehicle and trailer eventually collide if trailer operation is not corrected. This paper considers low speed trailer maneuvering typical of trailer backing. Jackknife state limits can vary [...] Read more.
Jackknifing refers to the serious situation where a vehicle-trailer system enters a jackknife state and the vehicle and trailer eventually collide if trailer operation is not corrected. This paper considers low speed trailer maneuvering typical of trailer backing. Jackknife state limits can vary due to sideslip caused by physical interaction between the vehicle, trailer, and environment. Analysis of a kinematic model considers sideslip at the vehicle and trailer wheels. Results indicate that vehicle-trailer systems should be divided into three categories based on the ratio of hitch length and trailer tongue length, each with distinct behaviors. The Long Trailer category may have no jackknifing state while the other two categories always have states leading to jackknifing. It is found that jackknife limits, which are the boundaries between the jackknifing state and the recoverable regions, can be divided into safe and unsafe limits. The latter of which must be avoided. Simulations and physical experiments support these results and provide insight about the implications of vehicle and trailer states with slip that lead to jackknifing. Simulations also demonstrate the benefit of considering these new slip-based jackknife limits in trailer backing control. Full article
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0 pages, 20175 KiB  
Article
Adaptive Pincer Grasping of Soft Pneumatic Grippers Based on Object Stiffness for Modellable and Controllable Grasping Quality
by Chaiwuth Sithiwichankit and Ratchatin Chancharoen
Robotics 2022, 11(6), 132; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics11060132 - 21 Nov 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2010
Abstract
In this study, adaptive pincer grasping of soft pneumatic grippers (SPGs) is considered, and we propose how the performance of soft pneumatic actuators (SPAs) and the stiffness of grasped objects can be accounted for in modeling and control. The grasping kinetics was analyzed. [...] Read more.
In this study, adaptive pincer grasping of soft pneumatic grippers (SPGs) is considered, and we propose how the performance of soft pneumatic actuators (SPAs) and the stiffness of grasped objects can be accounted for in modeling and control. The grasping kinetics was analyzed. The connection between grasping quality and SPA performance is discussed. We also devised a subjective definition of grasping quality due to SPA performance. A modeling technique was established, which makes dominant factors of grasping quality due to the SPA performance predictable over the gripper input. Later, a control architecture was developed. This architecture demonstrates how the grasping is implemented. The modeling technique was used to forecast grasping quality due to the SPA performance and its factors. An experiment was conducted to obtain actual results. The predicted and actual results were correspondingly compared. The results show minute deviation, thereby validating the reliability of the grasping. This study clarifies the association between grasping quality and SPA performance and contributes an advancement toward modellable and controllable task-level variables, such as grasping quality, in SPG pincer grasping. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Grasping and Motion Control Solutions)
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18 pages, 6027 KiB  
Article
Wire Harness Assembly Process Supported by a Collaborative Robot: A Case Study Focus on Ergonomics
by Gabriel E. Navas-Reascos, David Romero, Ciro A. Rodriguez, Federico Guedea and Johan Stahre
Robotics 2022, 11(6), 131; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics11060131 - 16 Nov 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3700
Abstract
Products and assets are becoming increasingly “smart”, e.g., mechatronic, electronic, or cyber-physical. In the lack of fully reliable wireless solutions, extensive wiring and wire bundling into wire harnesses are needed. This has manufacturing implications, leading to increasingly complex wire harness assembly processes, where [...] Read more.
Products and assets are becoming increasingly “smart”, e.g., mechatronic, electronic, or cyber-physical. In the lack of fully reliable wireless solutions, extensive wiring and wire bundling into wire harnesses are needed. This has manufacturing implications, leading to increasingly complex wire harness assembly processes, where numerous components, connectors, and cables are assembled, connecting critical and non-critical electric and electronic systems in smart products and assets. Thus, wire harnesses demand is rapidly rising in most industries, requiring human or robotic work. Often, required work tasks are repetitive and physically demanding, while still needing people for quality reasons. An attractive solution would therefore be humans collaborating with robots. Unfortunately, there are very few scientific studies on automation solutions using collaborative robots (cobots) for wire harness assembly process tasks to increase process productivity and improve work ergonomics. Furthermore, wire harness assembly process tasks are presently carried out 90% manually in this industry, causing serious ergonomic problems for assembly workers who perform such tasks daily. The challenge is reducing the ergonomic risks currently present in many established wire harness assembly processes while improving production time and quality. This paper presents an early prototype and simulation to integrate a cobot into a wire harness assembly process, primarily for work ergonomic improvements. The use of a cobot is specifically proposed to reduce ergonomic risks for wire harness assembly workers. Two methodologies: RULA and JSI were used to evaluate the ergonomics of the task of cable tie collocation. The real-world case study results illustrate the validation of a cobot which significantly reduced non-ergonomic postures in the task of placing cable ties in the wire harnesses assembly process studied. An ergonomic analysis without the cobot (the actual process) was conducted, based on RULA and JSI methodologies, presenting the highest possible scores in both evaluations, which calls for urgent changes in the current wire harness assembly process task studied. Then, the same analysis was performed with the cobot, obtaining significant reductions in the ergonomic risks of the task at hand to acceptable values. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Industrial Robots and Automation)
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22 pages, 5579 KiB  
Article
Obstacles Avoidance for Mobile Robot Using Type-2 Fuzzy Logic Controller
by Mohammad Al-Mallah, Mohammad Ali and Mustafa Al-Khawaldeh
Robotics 2022, 11(6), 130; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics11060130 - 16 Nov 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3248
Abstract
Intelligent mobile robots need to deal with different kinds of uncertainties in order to perform their tasks, such as tracking predefined paths and avoiding static and dynamic obstacles until reaching their destination. In this research, a Robotino® from Festo Company was used [...] Read more.
Intelligent mobile robots need to deal with different kinds of uncertainties in order to perform their tasks, such as tracking predefined paths and avoiding static and dynamic obstacles until reaching their destination. In this research, a Robotino® from Festo Company was used to reach a predefined target in different scenarios, autonomously, in a static and dynamic environment. A Type-2 fuzzy logic controller was used to guide and help Robotino® reach its predefined destination safely. The Robotino® collects data from the environment. The rules of the Type-2 fuzzy logic controller were built from human experience. They controlled the Robotino® movement, guiding it toward its goal by controlling its linear and angular velocities, preventing it from colliding obstacles at the same time, as well. The Takagi–Sugeno–Kang (TSK) algorithm was implemented. Real-time and simulation experimental results showed the capability and effectiveness of the proposed controller, especially in dealing with uncertainty problems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Intelligent Systems and Robotics)
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22 pages, 7263 KiB  
Article
A Framework to Study and Design Communication with Social Robots
by Laura Kunold and Linda Onnasch
Robotics 2022, 11(6), 129; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics11060129 - 15 Nov 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2742
Abstract
Communication is a central component in social human–robot interaction that needs to be planned and designed prior to the actual communicative act. We therefore propose a pragmatic, linear view of communication design for social robots that corresponds to a sender–receiver perspective. Our framework [...] Read more.
Communication is a central component in social human–robot interaction that needs to be planned and designed prior to the actual communicative act. We therefore propose a pragmatic, linear view of communication design for social robots that corresponds to a sender–receiver perspective. Our framework is based on Lasswell’s 5Ws of mass communication: Who, says what, in which channel, to whom, with what effect. We extend and adapt this model to communication in HRI. In addition, we point out that, besides the predefined communicative acts of a robot, other characteristics, such as a robot’s morphology, can also have an impact on humans, since humans tend to assign meaning to every cue in robots’ behavior and appearance. We illustrate the application of the extended framework to three different studies on human–robot communication to demonstrate the incremental value as it supports a systematic evaluation and the identification of similarities, differences, and research gaps. The framework therefore offers the opportunity for meta-analyses of existing research and additionally draws the path for future robust research designs for studying human–robot communication. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Communication with Social Robots)
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16 pages, 4065 KiB  
Article
FABRIKx: Tackling the Inverse Kinematics Problem of Continuum Robots with Variable Curvature
by Dmitrii Kolpashchikov, Olga Gerget and Viacheslav Danilov
Robotics 2022, 11(6), 128; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics11060128 - 15 Nov 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2225
Abstract
A continuum robot is a unique type of robots which move because of the elastic deformation of their bodies. The kinematics of such robots is typically described using constant curvature assumption. Such an assumption, however, does not completely describe the kinematics of a [...] Read more.
A continuum robot is a unique type of robots which move because of the elastic deformation of their bodies. The kinematics of such robots is typically described using constant curvature assumption. Such an assumption, however, does not completely describe the kinematics of a real-life continuum robot. As a result, variable curvature assumptions describe the kinematics of the continuum robot better, however, they are more complicated to formulate and work with. In particular, the existing methods of solving the inverse kinematics problem of multisection continuum robots with variable curvature suffer from a variety of deficiencies. Those deficiencies include complex matrix calculations, singularity problems, unscalability, and inability to find a numeric solution in some cases. In this work, we present FABRIKx: fast and reliable algorithm to solve the problem of inverse kinematics of the multisection continuum robot with variable curvature. In particular, to describe the variable curvature, we utilize a piecewise constant curvature assumption. The proposed algorithm combines both tangent and chord approaches to solve the inverse kinematics problem. The inverse kinematics of a single bending section of piecewise constant curvature is also described. To evaluate FABRIKx effectiveness, we compare it with the Jacobian-based and FABRIKc-based algorithms via simulation studies for different robots. The obtained results show that FABRIKx demonstrates a higher success rate and a lower solution time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Soft Robotics)
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27 pages, 14031 KiB  
Review
A Review on the Use of Mobile Service Robots in Elderly Care
by Pouyan Asgharian, Adina M. Panchea and François Ferland
Robotics 2022, 11(6), 127; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics11060127 - 15 Nov 2022
Cited by 25 | Viewed by 11098
Abstract
Global demographics trend toward an aging population. Hence, there will be an increased social demand for elderly care. Recently, assistive technologies such as service robots have emerged and can help older adults to live independently. This paper reports a review starting from 1999 [...] Read more.
Global demographics trend toward an aging population. Hence, there will be an increased social demand for elderly care. Recently, assistive technologies such as service robots have emerged and can help older adults to live independently. This paper reports a review starting from 1999 of the existing mobile service robots used for older adults to grow old at home. We describe each robot from the viewpoint of applications, platforms, and empirical studies. Studies reported that mobile social robots could assist older adults throughout their daily activities such as reminding, household tasks, safety, or health monitoring. Moreover, some of the reported studies indicate that mobile service robots can enhance the well-being of older adults and decrease the workload for their caregivers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Robots for the Human Well-Being)
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23 pages, 3792 KiB  
Review
Learning from Demonstrations in Human–Robot Collaborative Scenarios: A Survey
by Arturo Daniel Sosa-Ceron, Hugo Gustavo Gonzalez-Hernandez and Jorge Antonio Reyes-Avendaño
Robotics 2022, 11(6), 126; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics11060126 - 15 Nov 2022
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 3939
Abstract
Human–Robot Collaboration (HRC) is an interdisciplinary research area that has gained attention within the smart manufacturing context. To address changes within manufacturing processes, HRC seeks to combine the impressive physical capabilities of robots with the cognitive abilities of humans to design tasks with [...] Read more.
Human–Robot Collaboration (HRC) is an interdisciplinary research area that has gained attention within the smart manufacturing context. To address changes within manufacturing processes, HRC seeks to combine the impressive physical capabilities of robots with the cognitive abilities of humans to design tasks with high efficiency, repeatability, and adaptability. During the implementation of an HRC cell, a key activity is the robot programming that takes into account not only the robot restrictions and the working space, but also human interactions. One of the most promising techniques is the so-called Learning from Demonstration (LfD), this approach is based on a collection of learning algorithms, inspired by how humans imitate behaviors to learn and acquire new skills. In this way, the programming task could be simplified and provided by the shop floor operator. The aim of this work is to present a survey of this programming technique, with emphasis on collaborative scenarios rather than just an isolated task. The literature was classified and analyzed based on: the main algorithms employed for Skill/Task learning, and the human level of participation during the whole LfD process. Our analysis shows that human intervention has been poorly explored, and its implications have not been carefully considered. Among the different methods of data acquisition, the prevalent method is physical guidance. Regarding data modeling, techniques such as Dynamic Movement Primitives and Semantic Learning were the preferred methods for low-level and high-level task solving, respectively. This paper aims to provide guidance and insights for researchers looking for an introduction to LfD programming methods in collaborative robotics context and identify research opportunities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Humanoid and Human Robotics)
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