A.S. Boxerbaum

Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, United States

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Publications (24)5.28 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: In this work, we present a dynamic simulation of an earthworm-like robot moving in a pipe with radially symmetric Coulomb friction contact. Under these conditions, peristaltic locomotion is efficient if slip is minimized. We characterize ways to reduce slip-related losses in a constant-radius pipe. Using these principles, we can design controllers that can navigate pipes even with a narrowing in radius. We propose a stable heteroclinic channel controller that takes advantage of contact force feedback on each segment. In an example narrowing pipe, this controller loses 40% less energy to slip compared to the best-fit sine wave controller. The peristaltic locomotion with feedback also has greater speed and more consistent forward progress.
    Bioinspiration &amp Biomimetics 08/2013; 8(3):035003. · 2.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Video submission to ICRA '12: "Worms, Waves, and Robots". Narrated. See associated short paper for further details: https://researchgate.net/publication/261416542 Please contact me for higher quality versions of this video or for any usage questions. Video file details: 2 min. 56 sec., 71.5 MB, 1280 x 720p, 29.97 fps, H.264 video, AAC stereo audio
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    Conference Paper: Worms, waves and robots
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    ABSTRACT: The Biologically Inspired Robotics group at Case Western Reserve University has developed several innovative designs for a new kind of robot that uses peristalsis, the method of locomotion used by earthworms. Unlike previous wormlike robots, our concept uses a continuously deformable outer mesh that interpolates the body position between discrete actuators. Here, we summarize our progress with this soft hyper-redundant robot.
    2012 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA ‘12), Video Proceedings, St. Paul, USA; 05/2012
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    Alexander S Boxerbaum, Kendrick M Shaw, Hillel J Chiel, Roger D Quinn
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    ABSTRACT: We have developed several innovative designs for a new kind of robot that uses a continuous wave of peristalsis for locomotion, the same method that earthworms use, and report on the first completed prototypes. This form of locomotion is particularly effective in constrained spaces, and although the motion has been understood for some time, it has rarely been effectively or accurately implemented in a robotic platform. As an alternative to robots with long segments, we present a technique using a braided mesh exterior to produce smooth waves of motion along the body of a worm-like robot. We also present a new analytical model of this motion and compare predicted robot velocity to a 2D simulation and a working prototype. Because constant-velocity peristaltic waves form due to accelerating and decelerating segments, it has been often assumed that this motion requires strong anisotropic ground friction. However, our analysis shows that with smooth, constant velocity waves, the forces that cause accelerations within the body sum to zero. Instead, transition timing between aerial and ground phases plays a critical role in the amount of slippage, and the final robot speed. The concept is highly scalable, and we present methods of construction at two different scales.
    The International Journal of Robotics Research 01/2012; 31(3):302-318. · 2.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Water and land mine detection performed on beaches and in turbulent surf-zone areas pose specific challenges to robot operation. A robot which is useful in the effort to disarm mined waterways must be capable of navigating rocky terrain, hard-packed wet sand and loose dry sand, and constantly changing underwater currents common to these environments. It is also preferable for them to be man-packable and have a large payload capacity for sensors. Studies of insect locomotion mechanisms, and their abstraction to specific movement principles, provides a framework for designing robots that can quickly adapt to varied terrain types. Based on recent success with beach environment autonomy and a new rugged waterproof robotic platform, we propose a new design that will fuse a range of insect-inspired passive mechanisms with active control strategies to seamlessly adapt to and traverse through a range of challenging environments both in and out of the water.
    Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics (BioRob), 2012 4th IEEE RAS & EMBS International Conference on; 01/2012
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    ABSTRACT: While soft-bodied animals have an extraordinari ly diverse set of robust behaviors, soft-bodied robots have not yet achieved this flexiblity. In this paper, we explore controlling a truly continuously deformable structure with a CPG-like network. Our recently completed soft wormlike robot with a continuously deformable outer mesh, along with a continuum analysis of peristalsis, has suggested the neural control investigated here. We use a Wilson-Cowan neuronal model in a continuum arrangement that mirrors the arrangement of muscles in an earthworm. We show that such a system is well suited to incorporate sensory input and can create both rhythmic and nonrhythmic activity. The system can be controlled using straightforward descending signals whose effects are largely decoupled and can modulate the properties from CPG-like behaviors to static waves. This approach will be useful for designing robotic systems that express multiple adaptive behavioral modes.
    IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS ‘11), San Francisco, USA; 09/2011
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    ABSTRACT: Animal behavioral, physiological and neurobiological studies are providing a wealth of inspirational data for robot design and control. Several very different biologically inspired mobile robots will be reviewed. A robot called DIGbot is being developed that moves independent of the direction of gravity using Distributed Inward Gripping (DIG) as a rapid and robust attachment mechanism observed in climbing animals. DIGbot is an 18 degree of freedom hexapod with onboard power and control systems. Passive compliance in its feet, which is inspired by the flexible tarsus of the cockroach, increases the robustness of the adhesion strategy and enables DIGbot to execute large steps and stationary turns while walking on mesh screens. A Whegs™ robot, inspired by insect locomotion principles, is being developed that can be rapidly reconfigured between tracks and wheel-legs and carry GeoSystems Zipper Mast. The mechanisms that cause it to passively change its gait on irregular terrain have been integrated into its hubs for a compact and modular design. The robot is designed to move smoothly on moderately rugged terrain using its tracks and run on irregular terrain and stairs using its wheel-legs. We are also developing soft bodied robots that use peristalsis, the same method of locomotion earthworms use. We present a technique of using a braided mesh exterior to produce fluid waves of motion along the body of the robot that increase the robot's speed relative to previous designs. The concept is highly scalable, for endoscopes to water, oil or gas line inspection.© (2011) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
    05/2011;
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    ABSTRACT: Animal behavioral, physiological and neurobiological studies are providing a wealth of inspirational data for robot design and control. Several very different biologically inspired mobile robots will be reviewed. A robot called DIGbot is being developed that moves independent of the direction of gravity using Distributed Inward Gripping (DIG) as a rapid and robust attachment mechanism observed in climbing animals. DIGbot is an 18 degree of freedom hexapod with onboard power and control systems. Passive compliance in its feet, which is inspired by the flexible tarsus of the cockroach, increases the robustness of the adhesion strategy and enables DIGbot to execute large steps and stationary turns while walking on mesh screens. A Whegs™ robot, inspired by insect locomotion principles, is being developed that can be rapidly reconfigured between tracks and wheel-legs and carry GeoSystems Zipper Mast. The mechanisms that cause it to passively change its gait on irregular terrain have been integrated into its hubs for a compact and modular design. The robot is designed to move smoothly on moderately rugged terrain using its tracks and run on irregular terrain and stairs using its wheel-legs. We are also developing soft bodied robots that use peristalsis, the same method of locomotion earthworms use. We present a technique of using a braided mesh exterior to produce fluid waves of motion along the body of the robot that increase the robot's speed relative to previous designs. The concept is highly scalable, for endoscopes to water, oil or gas line inspection.
    Proc SPIE 05/2011;
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    ABSTRACT: While soft-bodied animals have an extraordinarily diverse set of robust behaviors, soft-bodied robots have not yet achieved this flexiblity. In this paper, we explore controlling a truly continuously deformable structure with a CPG-like network. Our recently completed soft wormlike robot with a continuously deformable outer mesh, along with a continuum analysis of peristalsis, has suggested the neural control investigated here. We use a Wilson-Cowan neuronal model in a continuum arrangement that mirrors the arrangement of muscles in an earthworm. We show that such a system is well suited to incorporate sensory input and can create both rhythmic and nonrhythmic activity. The system can be controlled using straightforward descending signals whose effects are largely decoupled and can modulate the properties from CPG-like behaviors to static waves. This approach will be useful for designing robotic systems that express multiple adaptive behavioral modes.
    Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2011 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on; 01/2011
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    ABSTRACT: When a camera is affixed on a dynamic mobile robot, image stabilization is the first step towards more complex analysis on the video feed. This paper presents a novel electronic image stabilization (EIS) algorithm for highly dynamic mobile robotic platforms. The algorithm combines optical flow motion parameter estimation with angular rate data provided by a strapdown inertial measurement unit (IMU). A discrete Kalman filter in feedforward configuration is used for optimal fusion of the two data sources. Performance evaluations are conducted using a simulated video truth model (capturing the effects of image translation, rotation, blurring, and moving objects), and live test data. Live data was collected from a camera and IMU affixed to the DAGSI Whegs mobile robotic platform as it navigated through a hallway. Template matching, feature detection, optical flow, and inertial measurement techniques are compared and analyzed to determine the most suitable algorithm for this specific type of image stabilization. Pyramidal Lucas-Kanade optical flow using Shi-Tomasi good features in combination with inertial measurement is the EIS algorithm found to be superior. In the presence of moving objects, fusion of inertial measurement reduces optical flow root-mean-squared (RMS) error in motion parameter estimates by 40%.
    Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2010 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on; 11/2010
  • A.S. Boxerbaum, H.J. Chiel, R.D. Quinn
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    ABSTRACT: We have developed several innovative designs for a new kind of robot that uses peristalsis for locomotion, the same method that earthworms use, and report on the first completed prototype (Fig. 1). This form of locomotion is particularly effective in constrained spaces, and although the motion has been understood for some time, it has rarely been effectively or accurately implemented in a robotic platform. We address some reasons for this, including some common misconceptions within the field. We present a technique using a braided mesh exterior to produce fluid waves of motion along the body of a worm-like robot. We also present a new analytical model of this motion and compare predicted robot velocity to a 2-D simulation. Unlike previous mathematical models of peristaltic motion, our model suggests that friction is not a limiting factor in robot speed, but only in acceleration. The concept is highly scalable, and we present methods of construction at two different scales.
    Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2010 IEEE International Conference on; 06/2010
  • International Journal of Design & Nature and Ecodynamics 01/2010; 4(4):319-336.
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    ABSTRACT: Surf zone environments pose extreme challenges to robot operation. A robot that could autonomously navigate through the rocky terrain, constantly changing underwater currents, hard-packed moist sand, and loose dry sand characterizing this environment, would have very significant utility for a range of defence and civilian missions. The study of animal locomotion mechanisms can elucidate specific movement principles that can be applied to address these demands. In this work, we report on the design and optimization of a biologically inspired autonomous robot for deployment and operation in an ocean beach environment. Based on recent success with beach environment autonomy and a new rugged waterproof robotic platform, we propose a new design that will fuse a range of insect-inspired passive mechanisms with active autonomous control architectures to seamlessly adapt to and traverse through a range of challenging substrates both in and out of the water.
    Advanced Intelligent Mechatronics, 2009. AIM 2009. IEEE/ASME International Conference on; 08/2009
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    Alexander Boxerbaum, Hillel Chiel, Roger Quinn
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    ABSTRACT: We have developed several innovative designs for a new kind of robot that uses peristalsis, the same method of locomotion earthworms use, and are currently building the first prototypes. This method of locomotion is particularly effective in constrained spaces, and although the motion has been understood for some time, it has never been effectively or accurately implemented in a robotic platform. We address the reasons for this, including some common misconceptions within the field, and present a technique of using a braided mesh exterior to produce fluid waves of motion along the body of the robot. The concept is highly scalable, and we present methods of construction at two different scales. We also present a concept for a robot specifically designed for pipe crawling, where it can take advantage of flowing fluid to locomote very efficiently, even upstream. A soft-bodied worm-like robot could find many uses in domestic and military applications, where it could be used for inspecting pipelines, patrolling or maintaining tortuous plumbing, for exploring complex underwater structures, or for search and rescue missions in piles of rubble. Miniaturized versions of worm-like robots could find multiple applications in medicine, such as endoscopy or angioplasty. A previous worm robot was developed using long braided pneumatic actuators (artificial muscles) in series (4). The robot moved much slower than expected. The power requirements were substantial and required an off-board pressurized air supply. Its unusually slow speed made us re-evaluate our understanding of peristaltic motion. We found that not only our robot, but all robots known to attempt peristaltic motion use an inappropriately crude approximation by using very long actuators with gaps between actuators. This is probably a direct result of the way peristaltic motion is explained in the literature, with large blocks illustrating differentially small muscle segments for the purpose of clarity. However, peristaltic motion is a wave of motion, and the better the approximation of this, the more "fluid" the motion. Our previous robot moved very slowly because this crude approximation of peristaltic motion causes the robot to slip when trying to move suddenly with each actuation. Combining this with the problems of power autonomy, it became clear that the solution required a radically new approach.
    01/2009;
  • A.S. Boxerbaum, J. Oro, G. Peterson, R.D. Quinn
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    ABSTRACT: Current autonomous and semi-autonomous robotic platforms are limited to functioning in highly structured environments such as buildings and roads. Autonomous robots that could explore and navigate rugged terrain and highly unstructured environments such as collapsed buildings would have large dividends in civilian and military applications. In this work, we present the next generation of Whegstrade robots, DAGSI Whegstrade, which has been completed and extensively field tested. Several innovations have made the robot more rugged and well suited to autonomous operation. Specifically, an actively controlled, passively compliant body joint has been tested in three different modes of operation to judge the usefulness of the mechanism. A two-dimensional dynamic simulation of the robot has also been constructed, and has been used to study the effects of weight distribution on obstacle climbing and to investigate future autonomous climbing strategies. Moving the center of mass forward allowed the robot to climb taller obstacles. DAGSI Whegstrade can climb rectangular obstacles as tall as 2.19 times the length of a leg.
    Intelligent Robots and Systems, 2008. IROS 2008. IEEE/RSJ International Conference on; 10/2008
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    ABSTRACT: Insects and geckos use claws and adhesive pads to negotiate both rough and smooth surfaces. Climbing robots have been designed to mimic various aspects of these and other biological systems to operate in specific vertical environments. Robots that adhere to the surface through suction cups, magnetic end-effectors, or adhesive pads can climb featureless, flat, or smoothly curved surfaces. Vortex-generating climbers do not require smooth surfaces. Robots have been designed with end-effectors that match specific features of the environment, such as peg-holes, handrails, climbing-wall footholds, and poles. Robots have also been fitted with insect-inspired spines to scale rough vertical surfaces.
    Robotics and Automation, 2008. ICRA 2008. IEEE International Conference on; 06/2008
  • A.S. Boxerbaum, J. Oro, R.D. Quinn
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    ABSTRACT: DAGSI Whegs is the latest generation of full size Whegs robots. The robot is designed for collaborative work with the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) in SLAM with active feature recognition. Whegs vehicles use abstracted biological principles to navigate over irregular and varied terrain with little or no low level control. Torsionally compliant devices in the drive train of each wheel-leg allow its gait to passively adapt when climbing large obstacles or steep inclines. Whegs is similar to the RHex line of robots that preceded Whegs in that the foot motion of all 6 legs is circular, but it differs in many aspects: 3 leg-spokes versus 1, 1 drive motor vs. 6, leg rotation for steering instead of skid steering, passive gait adaptation vs. active gait control, and Whegs has a body joint.
    Robotics and Automation, 2008. ICRA 2008. IEEE International Conference on; 06/2008
  • Alexander S. Boxerbaum, Julio Oro, Gilbert L. Peterson, Roger D. Quinn
    2008 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, September 22-26, 2008, Acropolis Convention Center, Nice, France; 01/2008
  • Conference Paper: Introducing DAGSI Whegs
    Alexander S. Boxerbaum, Julio Oro, Roger D. Quinn
    2008 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, ICRA 2008, May 19-23, 2008, Pasadena, California, USA; 01/2008
  • 2008 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, ICRA 2008, May 19-23, 2008, Pasadena, California, USA; 01/2008