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Perception and Cognition Technologies in Assistive Robots for Domestic and Industrial Environments

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 September 2022) | Viewed by 14173

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Centre for Research and Technology Hellas, Information Technologies Institute, 57001 Thessaloniki, Greece
Interests: cognition and perception; active vision; human-aware SLAM and navigation; safe manipulation; social robots; robot behavior; human–robot collaboration; autonomous vehicles
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Personal and professional assistive robots have witnessed great research endeavors during the last few decades, aiming to develop companions and true collaborators that can improve, on one hand, the quality of life for people and, on the other hand, working conditions. To deploy such robots into market for operating in real domestic and industrial environments, certain robotic applications should be addressed with repeatability and robustness. Although significant efforts have already been put on the advancement of perception, cognition, and action skills of robots, contemporary robots still suffer from their limited and isolated abilities, lack of integrated active solutions, and limited dependability. To allow the ambient entrance of robots into our daily life to operate in domestic and industrial environments, significant effort is still required from the community. This necessitates the development of robot collaborators that act and behave predictably in a human-compatible logic, being also capable of resolving specific assistive tasks, while at the same time building social bonds with their cohabitants that allow for their unsupervised operation in nature environments. This Special Issue focuses on recent advances in assistive robots for industrial and domestic environments and encourages scientists to submit their outstanding work towards addressing this issue focusing on the topics listed below:

  • Holistic human–robot interaction schemes
  • Robot task planning for collaborative tasks
  • Machine learning for decision making and interaction
  • Human–robot collaboration
  • Robot navigation and SLAM in natural–unconstrained environments
  • Robot behavior regulation based on human activities
  • Robots for delivery tasks in assistive living scenarios
  • Smart robot architectures in realistic environments
  • Perception guided safe robot manipulation
  • Robot application tasks with smart environments and IoTs

Dr. Ioannis Kostavelis
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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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. Applied Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

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Keywords

  • holistic human–robot interaction schemes
  • robot task planning for collaborative tasks
  • machine learning for decision making and interaction
  • human–robot collaboration
  • robot navigation and SLAM in natural–unconstrained environments
  • robot behavior regulation based on human activities
  • robots for delivery tasks in assistive living scenarios
  • smart robot architectures in realistic environments
  • perception guided safe robot manipulation
  • robot application tasks with smart environments and IoTs

Published Papers (3 papers)

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18 pages, 5716 KiB  
Article
A Novel Soft Robotic Exoskeleton System for Hand Rehabilitation and Assistance Purposes
by Nikolaos Kladovasilakis, Ioannis Kostavelis, Paschalis Sideridis, Eleni Koltzi, Konstantinos Piliounis, Dimitrios Tzetzis and Dimitrios Tzovaras
Appl. Sci. 2023, 13(1), 553; https://doi.org/10.3390/app13010553 - 30 Dec 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 7977
Abstract
During the last decade, soft robotic systems, such as actuators and grippers, have been employed in various commercial applications. Due to the need to integrate robotic mechanisms into devices operating alongside humans, soft robotic systems concentrate increased scientific interest in tasks with intense [...] Read more.
During the last decade, soft robotic systems, such as actuators and grippers, have been employed in various commercial applications. Due to the need to integrate robotic mechanisms into devices operating alongside humans, soft robotic systems concentrate increased scientific interest in tasks with intense human–robot interaction, especially for human-exoskeleton applications. Human exoskeletons are usually utilized for assistance and rehabilitation of patients with mobility disabilities and neurological disorders. Towards this direction, a fully functional soft robotic hand exoskeleton system was designed and developed, utilizing innovative air-pressurized soft actuators fabricated via additive manufacturing technologies. The CE-certified system consists of a control glove that copies the motion from the healthy hand and passes the fingers configuration to the exoskeleton applied on the affected hand, which consists of a soft exoskeleton glove (SEG) controlled with the assistance of one-axis flex sensors, micro-valves, and a proportional integral derivative (PID) controller. Each finger of the SEG moves independently due to the finger-dedicated motion control system. Furthermore, the real-time monitoring and control of the fabricated SEG are conducted via the developed software. In addition, the efficiency of the exoskeleton system was investigated through an experimental validation procedure with the involvement of healthy participants (control group) and patients, which evaluated the efficiency of the system, including safety, ergonomics, and comfort in its usage. Full article
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28 pages, 3251 KiB  
Article
Robotic Assistance in Medication Intake: A Complete Pipeline
by Ioannis Kostavelis, Andreas Kargakos, Evangelos Skartados, Georgia Peleka, Dimitrios Giakoumis, Iason Sarantopoulos, Ioannis Agriomallos, Zoe Doulgeri, Satoshi Endo, Heiko Stüber, Faris Janjoš, Sandra Hirche and Dimitrios Tzovaras
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(3), 1379; https://doi.org/10.3390/app12031379 - 27 Jan 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3149
Abstract
During the last few decades, great research endeavors have been applied to healthcare robots, aiming to develop companions that extend the independent living of elderly people. To deploy such robots into the market, it is expected that certain applications should be addressed with [...] Read more.
During the last few decades, great research endeavors have been applied to healthcare robots, aiming to develop companions that extend the independent living of elderly people. To deploy such robots into the market, it is expected that certain applications should be addressed with repeatability and robustness. Such application is the assistance with medication-related activity, a common need for the majority of elderly people, referred from here on as medication adherence. This paper presents a novel and complete pipeline for assistance provision in monitoring and serving of medication, using a mobile manipulator embedded with action, perception and cognition skills. The challenges tackled in this work comprise, among others, that the robot locates the medication box placed in challenging spots by applying vision based strategies, thus enabling robust grasping. The grasping is performed with strategies that allow environmental contact, accommodated by the manipulator’s admittance controller which offers compliance behavior during interaction with the environment. Robot navigation is applied for the medication delivery, which, combined with active vision methods, enables the automatic selection of parking positions, allowing efficient interaction and monitoring of medication intake activity. The robot skills are orchestrated by a partially observable Markov decision process mechanism which is coupled with a task planner. This enables assistance scenario guidance and offers repeatability as well as gentle degradation of the system upon a failure, thus avoiding uncomfortable situations during human–robot interaction. Experiments have been conducted on the full pipeline, including robot’s deployment in 12 real house environments with real participants that led to very promising results with valuable findings for similar future applications. Full article
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13 pages, 3775 KiB  
Brief Report
Analysis of the Leap Motion Controller Workspace for HRI Gesture Applications
by Michal Tölgyessy, Martin Dekan, Jozef Rodina and František Duchoň
Appl. Sci. 2023, 13(2), 742; https://doi.org/10.3390/app13020742 - 5 Jan 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2249
Abstract
The Leap Motion Controller is a sensor for precise hand tracking; it is a device used for human interaction with computer systems via gestures. The study presented in this paper evaluates its workspace in real-world conditions. An exact replica of a human operator’s [...] Read more.
The Leap Motion Controller is a sensor for precise hand tracking; it is a device used for human interaction with computer systems via gestures. The study presented in this paper evaluates its workspace in real-world conditions. An exact replica of a human operator’s hand was used to measure the sensor’s precision, and therefore determine its hand tracking abilities in varying positions above the sensor. The replica was moved randomly across the workspace defined by the manufacturer, and precision was measured in each position. The hand model was placed in the furthest distances from the sensor to find every position where the sensor was still capable of tracking. We found the dimensions of the workspace in some cases exceeded the datasheet values; in other cases, the real workspace was smaller than the proclaimed one. We also computed precision in all positions, which shows tracking reliability. This study serves researchers developing HMI and HRI algorithms as a reference for the real dimensions of the Leap Motion Controller workspace as it provides extra and more precise information compared to the datasheet. Full article
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