Industrial Robot

Published by Emerald
Online ISSN: 0143-991X
Publications
Article
Describes the technological developments which are establishing the foundation for an exciting era of in situ exploration missions to planets, comets and asteroids with advanced robotic systems. Also outlines important concurrent terrestrial applications and spinoffs of the space robotics technology. These include high-precision robotic manipulators for microsurgical operations and dexterous arm control systems.
 
Article
Teleoperated minimally invasive surgical robots can significantly enhance a surgeon's accuracy, dexterity and visualization. However, current commercially available systems do not include significant haptic (force and tactile) feedback to the operator. This paper describes experiments to characterize this problem, as well as several methods to provide haptic feedback in order to improve surgeon's performance. There exist a variety of sensing and control methods that enable haptic feedback, although a number of practical considerations, e.g. cost, complexity and biocompatibility, present significant challenges. The ability of teleoperated robot-assisted surgical systems to measure and display haptic information leads to a number of additional exciting clinical and scientific opportunities, such as active operator assistance through "virtual fixtures" and the automatic acquisition of tissue properties.
 
Article
Ultrasound examinations represent one of the major diagnostic modalities of future healthcare. They are currently used to support medical space research but require a high skilled operator for both probe positioning on the patient's skin and image interpretation. TERESA is a tele-echography project that proposes a solution to bring astronauts and remotely located patients on ground quality ultrasound examinations despite the lack of a specialist at the location of the wanted medical act.
 
Conference Paper
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to present an algorithm for performing collision avoidance with robotic manipulators. Design/methodology/approach – The method does not require any a priori knowledge of the motion of other objects in its environment. Moreover, it is computationally efficient enough to be implemented in real time. This is achieved by constructing limitations on the motion of a manipulator in terms of its allowable instantaneous velocity. Potential collisions and joint limits are formulated as linear inequality constraints. Selection of the optimal velocity is formulated as a convex optimization and is solved using an interior point method. Findings – Experimental results with two industrial arms verify the effectiveness of the method and illustrate its ability to easily handle many simultaneous potential collisions. Originality/value – The resulting algorithm allows arbitrary motions commanded to the robot to be modified on‐line in order to guarantee optimal real‐time collision avoidance behaviors.
 
Conference Paper
This paper provides a minimum time algorithm to intercept an object on the conveyor belt by robotic manipulator. The goal is that the robot is able to intercept objects on a conveyor line moving at a given speed in minimum time. In order to formulate the problem, we introduce the robot and object arrival time functions, and conclude that the optimal point occurs at the intersection of these two functions. The search algorithm for finding the intersection point between the robot and object arrival time functions are also presented to find the optimal point in real-time.
 
A fixed set of beam directions are identified on a sphere centered on the tumor. The trajectories are planned relative to the sphere which moves with the patient.
The treatment planning translates a desired dose distribution into robot path and linac beam plan.  
Two x-ray sources and a cameras provide orthogonal views of the tumor. Tracking is achieved by matching the x-ray images to a set of synthetic images that correspond to various movements  
The radiation dose distributions are planned on the CT slices directly.
Conference Paper
This paper presents an overview of the X-ray guided robotic radiosurgery system that has been developed for the ablation of solid tumors. A robot mounted linear accelerator is directed through a sequences of positions and orientations designed to deliver high radiation dosages at specific locations. Patient movement during treatment is identified by stereo X-ray measurements and the robotic system adjusts the linear accelerator prior to the delivery of radiation at each location. The result is precise delivery with rigid registration of the tumor relative to the treatment system
 
Conference Paper
The Segway human transport (HT) is a one person dynamically self-balancing transportation vehicle. The Segway robot mobility platform (RMP) is a modification of the HT capable of being commanded by a computer for autonomous operation. With these platforms, we are investigating human/robot coordination in adversarial environments through the game, Segway soccer. The players include robots (RMPs) and humans (riding HTs). The rules of the game are a combination of soccer and ultimate Frisbee rules. In this paper, we provide two contributions. First, we examine the capabilities and limitations of the Segway and describe the mechanical systems necessary to create a robot Segway soccer player. Second, we provide a detailed analysis of several ball manipulation/kicking systems and the implementation results of the CM-RMP pneumatic ball manipulation system.
 
Chapter
This paper presents the design and validation of a universal 6D seam tracking system that reduces the need of accurate robot trajectory programming and geometrical databases in robotic laser scanning. The 6D seam tracking system was developed in the flexible unified simulation environment, integrating software prototyping with mechanical virtual prototyping, based on physical experiments. The validation experiments showed that this system was both robust and reliable and should be able to manage a radius of curvature less than 200 mm. In the pre-scanning mode, a radius of curvature down to 2 mm was managed for pipe intersections at 3 scans/mm, using a laser scanner with an accuracy of 0.015 mm.
 
The robot is able to climb using the environment connectors.  
ASIBOT is very easy to transport. The robot is inside the bag.  
Schematic diagram of the ASIBOT system.  
PDA and joystick to use the ASIBOT.  
Chapter
Human care and service demands will need innovative robotic solutions to make easier the everyday of elderly and disable people in home and workplace environments. The main objective of this work is to develop a new concept of climbing robot for this type of service applications. ASIBOT is a 5 DOF self-containing manipulator, that includes on-board all the control system. The main advantage of this robot is its light weight, about 11 kg with 1.3m reach. The robot is totally autonomous and needs only power supply to be operated. The robot is a symmetrical arm able to move between different points (Docking Stations) of the rooms and, if it is necessary, “jump” to (or from) the environment to the wheelchair. In this way the ASIBOT robot could became a home companion and assistance for numerous people. KeywordsRehabilitation robotics–light weight robot–Service robots–hard-soft architectures
 
Climbing Along the Pole 
Rotation Around the Pole axis 
Overtaking the Bent Section 
Robot Performing a Weldiing Operation 
Chapter
In this paper, conception, design, modeling, and prototyping of a multi-task 4 DOF pole climbing/manipulating robot are discussed. The hybrid serial/parallel mechanism, with 2 translations and 2 rotations provides a good solution for a pole climbing and manipulating robot which can travel along tubular structures with bends, branches and step changes in cross section. It is also able to perform manipulation, repair and maintenance tasks after reaching the target point on the structure. After discussing conceptions of the mechanism, modeling and some aspects of the detailed design are presented. Then some of the issues with the prototyping of the robot mechanism are discussed.
 
Article
This short note presents a viewpoint about medical robotics.
 
PD versus state feedback control. Left (a): the gains of the PD controller are identical to the position and velocity feedback gains of the state feedback controller. The PD controlled robot exhibits oscillations. Right (b): The gains of the PD controller are reduced, such that both controllers have the same link side stiffness. The PD controller has higher position errors and still some oscillations on the torque signal.
Article
Purpose – The paper seeks to present a new generation of torque-controlled light-weight robots (LWR) developed at the Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics of the German Aerospace Center. Design/methodology/approach – An integrated mechatronic design approach for LWR is presented. Owing to the partially unknown properties of the environment, robustness of planning and control with respect to environmental variations is crucial. Robustness is achieved in this context through sensor redundancy and passivity-based control. In the DLR root concept, joint torque sensing plays a central role. Findings – In order to act in unstructured environments and interact with humans, the robots have design features and control/software functionalities which distinguish them from classical robots, such as: load-to-weight ratio of 1:1, torque sensing in the joints, active vibration damping, sensitive collision detection, compliant control on joint and Cartesian level. Practical implications – The DLR robots are excellent research platforms for experimentation of advanced robotics algorithms. Space and medical robotics are further areas for which these robots were designed and hopefully will be applied within the next years. Potential industrial application fields are the fast automatic assembly as well as manufacturing activities done in cooperation with humans (industrial robot assistant). The described functionalities are of course highly relevant also for the potentially huge market of service robotics. The LWR technology was transferred to KUKA Roboter GmbH, which will bring the first arms on the market in the near future. Originality/value – This paper introduces a new type of LWR with torque sensing in each joint and describes a consistent approach for using these sensors for manipulation in human environments. To the best of one's knowledge, the first systematic experimental evaluation of possible injuries during robot-human crashes using standardized testing facilities is presented.
 
DLR MIRO robots equipped with endoscopic instruments in a tele-manipulation scenario 
Shoulder joints 1, 2, 3 (left), elbow joints 4, 5 (middle) and wrist joints 6, 7 (right) of the MIRO robot
The layered MIRO system architecture: only the current control is implemented on the joint modules
The controller structure for the DLR MIRO
The structure of the MIMO state feedback controller for the coupled joints
Article
The paper presents a new torque-controlled lightweight robot for medical procedures developed at the Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics of the German Aerospace Center. Based on the experiences in lightweight robotics and anthropomorphic robotic hands, a small robot arm with 7 axis and torque-controlled joints tailored to surgical procedures has been designed. With an optimized anthropomorphic kinematics, integrated multi-modal sensors and flexible robot control architecture, the first prototype KINEMEDIC and the new generation MIRO, enhanced for endoscopic surgery, can easily be adapted to a wide range of different medical procedures and scenarios by the use of specialized instruments and compiling workflows within the robot control. With the options of both, Cartesian impedance and position control, MIRO is suited for tele-manipulation, shared autonomy and completely autonomous procedures. This paper focuses on system and hardware design of the robot, supplemented with a brief description on new specific control methods for the MIRO robot.
 
Chapter
Purpose – Describes the design, construction, and performance of the OmniTread serpentine robot. Provides a review of other designs in this new area of mobile robotics. Presents innovative and unique mechanical and control solutions. Design/methodology/approach – A theoretical analysis of key aspects of the mechanical design and their implications on the performance of the robot is presented. Extensive experimentation and testing helped optimize choices of materials for the critical components: tracks and pneumatic bellows. Performance was evaluated by an independent third party: the Southwest Research Institute. Findings – It was found that pneumatic bellows are optimal joint actuators for serpentine robots. They can provide both strength and compliance, depending on the task, at minimal volume and weight. Research limitations/implications – The described prototype is tethered to external sources of electrical and pneumatic power. A smaller and fully self-contained version of the OmniTread is currently under development. Practical implications – A fully functional OmniTread serpentine robot will provide unprecedented mobility on rough terrain, such as the rubble of a collapsed building. The ability to climb over high obstacles and span large gaps, while still fitting through small openings suggests use of this robot in urban search and rescue, industrial inspection, and military reconnaissance tasks. Originality/value – The OmniTread serpentine robot incorporates multiple original features, which resulted in three recent patents. Most notably are the Integrated pneumatic joint actuator with proportional position and stiffness control system and the “Tracks all Around” design. These features provide dramatic performance improvements in serpentine robots.
 
Article
Minimally invasive endoscopic surgery and minimally invasive surgery challenge surgical skills due to the operator's separation from the surgical field and the requirements for long instruments with limited dexterity. To overcome the drawbacks of conventional endoscopic instruments computer-enhanced telemanipulation systems and robotic systems have been developed in the past. This paper summarizes the requirements for minimally invasive robotic assisted surgery and describes a new robot that has been developed at the German Aerospace Center (DLR). The discussion includes a description of the robotic arm, the appropriate control laws, as well as the requirements for actuated and sensorized instruments.
 
Sub-band decomposition of images based on texture scale and orientation. Smaller squares correspond to smaller spatial frequencies; the square adjacent to the origin is the DC component. Different squares of the same size correspond to different orientations at the same scale. (left) Y-channel contains the luminance information; 3-level DWT gives 10 subbands. (right) I-and Q-channels contain the chrominance information; 2-level DWT gives 7 sub-bands
Article
Aircraft flight pressurization/depressurization cycling causes the skin to inflate and deflate, stressing it around the rivets that fasten it to the airframe. The resulting strain, exacerbated by corrosion, drives the growth of initially microscopic cracks. To avoid catastrophe, aircraft are inspected periodically for cracks and corrosion. The inspection technology employed is ~90% naked-eye vision. We have developed and demonstrated robotic deployment of both remote enhanced 3D-stereoscopic video instrumentation for visual inspection and remote eddy current probes for instrumented inspection. This article describes the aircraft skin inspection application, how robotic deployment may alleviate human performance problems and workplace hazards during inspection, practical robotic deployment systems, their instrumentation packages, and our progress toward developing image enhancement and understanding techniques that could help aircraft inspectors to find cracks, corrosion, and other visu...
 
Article
Based on the successful hardware and software architecture of Care-O-bot (Schaeffer et al., 1999) a new generation of mobile robots has recently been designed at Fraunhofer Institute of Manufacturing Engineering and Automation (IPA). The robots have been created to communicate with and to entertain visitors in a museum. Their tasks include welcoming visitors, leading a guided tour through the museum or playing with a ball. In this article the hardware platform of the robots and their features such as navigation and communication skills, their safety concept and handling are outlined. Further the underlying control software of the robots is described. Finally the application of the robots at the `Museum fr Kommunikation' in Berlin is presented. The robots have been running in this museum daily since March 25
 
Article
Robotic telesurgery is a promising application of robotics to medicine, aiming to enhance the dexterity and sensation of regular and minimally invasive surgery through using millimeter-scale robotic manipulators under control of the surgeon. With appropriate communication links, it would also be possible to perform remote surgery for care in rural areas where specialty care is unavailable, or to provide emergency care en route to a hospital. The second generation UC Berkeley/UCSF Telesurgical Workstation is a master-slave telerobotic system, with two pairs of 6 degree of freedom (DOF) master and slave robotic manipulators, designed for laparoscopic surgery. The slave manipulators have 2 DOF wrists inside the body to allow high dexterity manipulation in addition to the 4 DOF of motion possible through the entry ports, which are actuated by external gross motion platforms. The kinematics and the controller of the system are designed to accommodate the force and movement requirements of complex tasks, including suturing and knot tying. The system has force feedback in 4 axes to improve the sensation of telesurgery. In this paper, the telesurgical system will be introduced with discussion of kinematic and control issues and presentation of in vitro experimental evaluation results. # This work is supported in part by NSF under grant CDA 9726362 and IRI 9531837, ONR under MURI grant N14-96-1-1200, and ARO under MURI grant DaaH04-96-1-0341. In Proceedings of the 39th Allerton Conference on Communication, Control and Computing, Monticello, IL, October 3-5, 2001. (Invited paper). 1
 
Components of the Vision-Guided Grasping Problem
Outcomes, Experimental Run 1
MRVT System Architecture
Outcomes, Moving Experimental Run
X (a), Y (b), and Z (c) Translation
Article
Many research efforts have turned to sensing, and in particular computer vision, to create more flexible robotic systems. Computer vision is often required to provide data for the grasping of a target. Using a vision system for grasping of static or moving objects presents several issues with respect to sensing, control, and system configuration. This paper presents some of these issues in concert with the options available to the researcher and the trade-offs to be expected when integrating a vision system with a robotic system for the purpose of grasping objects. The paper includes a description of our experimental system and contains experimental results from a particular configuration that characterize the type and frequency of errors encountered while performing various vision-guided grasping tasks. These error classes and their frequency of occurrence lend insight into the problems encountered during visual grasping and into the possible solution of these problems. Keywords: Robotic Grasping, Visual Tracking, Feature Selection, Eye-in-Hand Robotic Systems, Sensor Placement 1
 
Article
Landmark-based navigation of autonomous mobile robots or vehicles has been widely adopted in industry. Such a navigation strategy relies on identification and subsequent recognition of distinctive environment features or objects that are either known a priori or extracted dynamically. This process has inherent difficulties in practice due to sensor noise and environment uncertainty. This paper is to propose a navigation algorithm that simultaneously locates the robots and updates landmarks in a manufacturing environment. A key issue being addressed is how to improve the localization accuracy for mobile robots in a continuous operation, in which the Kalman filter algorithm is adopted to integrate odometry data with scanner data to achieve the required robustness and accuracy. The Kohonen neural networks have been used to recognize landmarks using scanner data in order to initialize and recalibrate the robot position by means of triangulation when necessary.
 
Article
Robot learning --- be it unsupervised, supervised or self-supervised --- is one method of dealing with noisy, inconsistent, or contradictory data that has proven useful in mobile robotics. In all but the simplest cases of robot learning, raw sensor data cannot be used directly as input to the learning process. Instead, some "meaningful" preprocessing has to be applied to the raw data, before the learning controller can use the sensory perceptions as input. In this paper, two instances of supervised and unsupervised robot learning experiments using vision input are presented. The vision sensor signal preprocessing necessary to achieve successful learning is also discussed. 1 Background By virtue of their ability to change location, mobile robots are exposed to noisy, inconsistent, or contradictory sensory perceptions, to a larger degree than, for instance, stationary robots. Any sensor signal processing mechanism that can cope with such data is therefore particularly suitable for mobil...
 
(a) 2.5D grid representation and (b) graph extracted from 2.5D grid
Path planning results
Article
Purpose – Two and one half‐dimensional (2.5D) grid maps are useful for navigation in outdoor environment or on non‐flat surface. However, little attention has been given to how to find an optimal path in a 2.5D grid map. The purpose of this paper is to develop a path‐planning method in a 2.5D grid map, which aims to provide an efficient solution to robot path planning no matter whether the robot is equipped with the prior knowledge of the environment. Design/methodology/approach – A 2.5D grid representation is proposed to model non‐flat surface for mobile robots. According to the graph extracted from the 2.5D grid map, an improved searching approach derived from A* algorithm is presented for the shortest path planning. With reasonable assumption, the approach is improved for the path planning in unknown environment. Findings – It is confirmed by experiments that the proposed planning approach provide a solution to the problem of optimal path planning in 2.5 grid maps. Furthermore, the experiment results demonstrate that our 2.5D D* method leads to more efficient dynamic path planning for navigation in unknown environment. Originality/value – This paper proposes a path‐planning approach in a 2.5D grid map which is used to represent a non‐flat surface. The approach is capable of efficient navigation no matter whether the global environmental information is available at the beginning of exploration.
 
Article
Purpose – Aims to describe the new tendency of Japanese robotic industry observed at the International Robot Exhibition 2005 in Tokyo. Design/methodology/approach – Reports new robots, robotic systems and research. Findings – Finds that Japanese robotics is trying to support the future direction of the nation. Originality/value – Introduces an approach to study what is going on in the Japanese robotic community based on the social needs of the country.
 
Article
Purpose – Aims to describe how Japan sees robotics for the future based on the author's observation of robots displayed at the World Expo 2005. Design/methodology/approach – Visits with the Expo and the relevant symposium. Findings – Japan is convinced of the immense potential of the new robotic market. Originality/value – Gives the Japanese view on robotics for the future to observers outside Japan.
 
Article
Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to review the International Robot Exhibition in Tokyo, Japan 2009, with emphasis on new trend of Japanese robot industry. Design/methodology/approach - This paper is based on in-depth interviews with exhibitors and the reporter's insight in Japanese robot industry. Findings - A big change is observed in the direction of the Japanese industrial robotics in an attempt to overcome the economic crisis. Practical implications - New markets, new applications, new robot types, and new robot-based production systems will be emerging. Originality/value - This is the first report describing the "change" in the Japanese robot industry after the breakout of the world economy recession.
 
Article
Dutch company Insentec has developed a robotic solution for milking cows. Using a standard industrial robot and machine vision, Insentec's Galaxy product is a fully automated milking station that is available to cows 24 h a day. Some 100 systems are already in use on farms around Europe.
 
Article
Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to develop a robot vision system for surface defect detection of 3D objects. It aims at the ill-defined qualitative items such as stains and scratches. Design/methodology/approach - A robot vision system for surface defect detection may counter: high surface reflection at some viewing angles; and no reference markers in any sensed images for matching. A filtering process is used to separate the illumination and reflection components of an image. An automatic marker-selection process and a template-matching method are then proposed for image registration and anomaly detection in reflection-free images. Findings - Tests were performed on a variety of hand-held electronic devices such as cellular phones. Experimental results show that the proposed system can reliably avoid reflection surfaces and effectively identify small local defects on the surfaces in different viewing angles. Practical implications - The results have practical implications for industrial objects with arbitrary surfaces. Originality/value - Traditional visual inspection systems mainly work for two-dimensional planar surfaces such as printed circuit boards and wafers. The proposed system can find the viewing angles with minimum surface reflection and detect small local defects under image misalignment for three-dimensional objects.
 
Article
Graham Engineering, a UK company specialising in the manufacture of large complex components for high-tech industries has pioneered the application of 3D laser trimming and welding of stainless steel and other difficult-to-process pressings and fabrications. It uses a Prima Optima 3D laser profiler, one of the largest built by the Italian company, for this work and examples are described from the nuclear, aerospace, domestic heating and telecommunications industries. One of the largest is a nuclear containment vessel manufactured in 6 mm stainless steel, requiring over 18 m of laser welded seams produced in a single pass compared with a root and four capping runs required when TIG welded. Quality and strength are also superior to TIG. Other components produced in the Prima machine include mild steel pressings for an aerospace customer, satellite dishes for a telecommunications company and stainless steel hot water cylinders marketed by Graham Engineering company.
 
Article
Purpose - Legged vehicles offer several advantages over wheeled vehicles, particularly on broken terrain, but are presently too slow to be considered for many high-speed tasks. This paper presents an effective 3D controller for a high-speed quadruped trot. Design/methodology/approach - To successfully regulate forward velocity and heading, secondary motions such as body pitch and roll must be stabilised. The complicated coupling between pitch and roll motion causes the control effort on one axis to disturb the motion and control effort of the other. Unlike the modular methods in previous research, the algorithm presented here employs a cooperative approach where pitch stability effort is directly accounted for by the roll controller. Findings - When the secondary motions such as pitch and roll are well stabilized, forward velocity and heading can be regulated up to 3?m/s and 20°/s, respectively. Research limitations/implications - For many quadrupeds, trotting is usually employed as the precursor to galloping, which is ultimately used at top speeds. Because these two gaits are commonly used together, we expect their control algorithms to share a number of similar components. It is then expected that understanding the quadruped trot will serve as a valuable foundation to understanding the quadruped gallop. Originality/value - This appears to be the first reported regulation of quadruped heading while running at significant speeds.
 
Article
Examines the development of a powerful AC variable speed drivetechnology that is reported to offer the best performance yet from an ACdrive, allowing it to match and even better the performance of DC motordrives. The technology is called direct torque control [DTC] anduses motor flux and torque as primary control variables. Outlines thebackground of DTC research and highlights two key developments, the latesthigh speed, signal-processing technology and a highly advanced MotorModel. Describes how the motor model is fed information about the motor,which is collected during a test run, and how the information isapplied.
 
Article
Purpose - To report some successful applications of vision-controlled robots in picking and packing of foodstuffs. Design/methodology/approach - The design and capabilities of ABB's two picking robots are explained, and the specialist software that integrates vision guidance and product inspection. Then two food-picking applications are described in detail. Findings - The delta robot design combines low weight with high stiffness, giving very fast picking capability. The Cognex-based vision system also produces high speed and precision, and is able to guide the robot and perform 100 per cent inspection in real time. Hygienic robot design allows it to handle open food. Practical implications - ABB's FlexPicker robot has moved from being a niche product to a volume product, bringing high-speed picking capability to a wider market. Originality/value - Showcases the capability and flexibility of a powerful vision-guided high-speed robot.
 
Conceptual design of ABLE
Traveling in a standing position 
Lock/free mechanism of the standing support plate (when holding)
Article
Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to describe a standing style transfer system, ABLE, designed to enable a person with disabled lower limbs to do daily-life activities without special infrastructure. Actually, ABLE is mainly intended for use by people who have spinal cord injuries and who cannot move hip joints and lower extremities: the level of spinal cord injury is L1. Design/methodology/approach - ABLE comprises three modules: a powered lower extremity orthosis, a pair of telescopic crutches, and a pair of mobile platforms. When traveling in a standing position, the user wears the powered lower extremity orthosis to fix his posture, and rides on the mobile platforms. The user uses crutches to keep his body stable. These telescopic crutches also play an important role of power assistance in standing-up and sitting-down motions, or going up/down a step. The user can enter narrow spaces, although stability is emphasized in wide spaces because it is possible to alter the contact points of the crutches freely. Findings - Motions are discussed in a standing position: traveling and rotating, and the chair and step motions. Experimental results related to these motions confirm the design's effectiveness. The authors improve previously developed mobile platforms for better operationality and stability. An ultrasonic motor was used for steering the mobile platform instead of the prior DC motor. The benefits of the ultrasonic motor enable the new platform to reduce its backlash in steering. A supporting plate and an active ankle joint attached to each mobile platform contribute stability when traveling in the standing position. The authors show the experimental results using new mobile platforms. Originality/value - The paper demonstrates novelty and originality of ABLE in its composition, which enables a person with disabled lower limbs to travel in a standing position on a pair of small mobile platforms. This system is regarded as a biped-type leg-wheeled robot system that has high energy efficiency and good mobility for steps because of its wheels and legs; moreover, it has a pair of crutches for stability.
 
LEMUR IIb system overview
USDC  
Conference Paper
Purpose – Introduces the Lemur IIb robot which allows the investigation of the technical hurdles associated with free climbing in steep terrain. These include controlling the distribution of contact forces during motion to ensure holds remain intact and to enable mobility through over-hangs. Efforts also can be applied to further in-situ characterization of the terrain, such as testing the strength of the holds and developing models of the individual holds and a terrain map. Design/methodology/approach – A free climbing robot system was designed and integrated. Climbing end-effector were investigated and operational algorithms were developed. Findings – A 4-limbed robotic system used to investigate several aspects of climbing system design including the mechanical system (novel end-effectors, kinematics, joint design), sensing (force, attitude, vision), low-level control (force-control for tactile sensing and stability management), and planning (joint trajectories for stability). A new class of Ultrasonic/Sonic Driller/Corer (USDC) end-effectors capable of creating “holds” in rock and soil as well as sampling those substrates. Practical implications – Planetary exploration of cliff faces. Search and rescue in steep terrain. Robotic scouting and surveillance in natural environments. Originality/value – The technologies developed on this platform will be used to build an advanced system that will climb slopes up to and including vertical faces and overhangs and be able to react forces to maintain stability and do useful work (e.g. sample acquisition/instrument placement).
 
Article
Improvements in both robot manufacture and robot controller technology have resulted in greater robot accuracy. A trial has been conducted to highlight the improvements brought by this evolution. By measuring the accuracy of the velocity profiles of two generations of the Fanuc Hexapod robot (the Flextool), these evolutionary developments are illustrated. The results from the trial show that although both generations of robot exhibit good accuracy, the later robot is superior both in terms of mechanical design and in controller processing capability.
 
Article
Purpose - Angular errors in the robot axes can make a significant contribution to robot positioning accuracy. This paper seeks to propose a new measuring method for measuring angular errors. Design/methodology/approach - New techniques were devised for the detailed investigation of joint angular errors using a reference encoder together with a precision electronic level and autocollimator. This equipment enabled vertical and horizontally orientated joint axes to be measured with the robot located on-site. Circle contouring measurements were also undertaken to assess the significance of multi-axis movements on the accuracy of the end effector. Findings - The technique, devised using a simulation program for the robot geometry with results from a circular test, enables robot errors to be characterised in terms of datum location error, backlash, gear transmission error, axes misalignments and joint encoder offset. Originality/value - The paper describes the experimental and theoretical accuracy characteristics of an articulated industrial robot. Close correlation was obtained between the experimental and theoretical results. This paper offers the practical robot calibration method for industrial application.
 
Article
Fettling is the process of removing excess material from castings. This excess material is often formed at the die's parting lines during the casting process as molten material is injected into the die at high pressure. By using a robot as a positioning tool for the fettling operation, the process can be carried out safely and with consistent results. This paper proposes a computer-assisted robotic fettling technique using visual feedback. In particular, emphasis is placed on the establishment of a technique and investigating its performance for the determination of the casting profile. Also examines the process parameters associated with high-speed fettling operations. Further, the experimental set-up employed and the results obtained are also presented.
 
Article
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to present and evaluate methods of control and gait generation for the DLR Crawler – a six‐legged walking robot prototype based on the fingers of the DLR Hand II. Design/methodology/approach – Following the institutes philosophy, the DLR Crawler is a highly integrated mechatronic device. As in all DLR robots, joint torque sensing plays an important role to allow actively compliant interaction with the environment. To control the Crawler a joint compliance controller is implemented and two different methods of gait generation are in use. The first method, intended for moderately uneven terrain, employs scalable patterns of fixed coordination combined with a leg extension reflex. For the second method, used in rougher terrain, a set of rules found by biologists in stick insect studies is applied. Based on these rules gaits emerge according to a velocity command. These gaits are combined with several reflexes to a reactive walking algorithm. Findings – The compliance controller together with the reactive gaits allows the robot to autonomously master uneven terrain and obstacles with height differences within the nominal walking height. Further, the controller reduces internal forces compared to pure joint position control. The sensitive joint torque sensors allow fast collision detection and reactions thereafter. Originality/value – This paper introduces a six‐legged walking robot test bed with comprehensive force‐torque sensing capability. Joint compliance controllers are implemented and successfully combined with reactive gait algorithms. For the second gait algorithm inspired by Cruse's rules, which were identified for forward walking stick insects, an implementation has been found for the DLR Crawler that gives the robot full omnidirectional mobility.
 
Article
Purpose - Humanitarian de-mining tasks require the use of specific detecting sets to detect landmines. These sets are normally based on a one-point sensor, which must be moved over the infested terrain by a combination of a scanning manipulator and a mobile platform. The purpose of this paper is to present the development of the sensor head and the scanning manipulator. Design/methodology/approach - The manipulator needs sensors in order to negotiate ground irregularities and detect obstacles in the path of the mine-detecting set. All of the sensors must be integrated into a sensor head that is in charge of both detecting land mines and providing overall sensor functions for the mobile platform's steering controller. Findings - The sensor head is based on a commercial mine-detecting set and a ground-tracking set based on a network of range sensors tailor-made for this purpose; the scanning manipulator is based on a mechanism with five degrees of freedom. Originality/value - The design assessment and some experiments are reported.
 
(a) and (b) ROBOTURK SA-2 Robot 
Body size of the single actuator eight-legged tetrapod walking spider robot
PLC block diagram
Right-left tetrapod gait diagram (time history) 
Article
Purpose – This study seeks to develop a novel eight‐legged robot. Additionally, this study defines design and control of an eight‐legged single actuator walking ROBOTURK SA‐2 spider robot based on the features of a creatural spider. Design/methodology/approach – First, the single actuator eight‐legged tetrapod walking spider robot was modeled on solid works and then the animation of the model was realized to ensure the accurate walking patterns and more stable walking. Based on this model, the novel prototype of the single actuator eight‐legged walking spider robot was constructed. Findings – A novel motion mechanism uses only one actuator for driving the system. Originality/value – The modeled single actuator eight‐legged robot is original in terms of the developed motion mechanism.
 
Article
Purpose – This paper aims to present a hybrid actuator controller to obtain fast and stiff position response without any overshoot by blending input signals of a DC servomotor and a particle brake. Design/methodology/approach – The hybrid actuator controller has a module to estimate instantaneous changes in inertia and a blending algorithm that adjusts input signals to the motor and the brake so that together, as a hybrid actuator, they can achieve a fast, stiff position response without overshoot. The control logic implemented in the controller is derived from the kinematics of the system. For the blending algorithm, two separate cases are explored in which the user has the option to either utilize the full‐braking capacity or specify a safe deceleration limit for the system. Findings – The blending algorithm enables the system to operate nearly twice as fast as the motor‐only case without any overshoot or oscillations. The controller can reject inertial load changes and significant external disturbances. Originality/value – Such hybrid actuators along with the developed controller can be used in robotics and automation to increase the system accuracy and operational speed resulting in higher production rates. In addition, much stiffer haptic force feedback interfaces for virtual reality applications can be designed with smaller actuators. The blending algorithm provides considerable improvements and uses a physics‐based simple and easy‐to‐implement structure.
 
Article
Most advanced manufacturing processes require high-speed and high-precision assembly machines for material transfer, packaging, assembly, and electrical wiring. To achieve the precise motion control, most of the machines use rotary electrical motors as their prime motion actuators, and couple their output shafts to mechanical motion translators. In this paper, the author proposes a new direction in high performance automated machine design, and suggests that the future high performance motion systems should be designed through the philosophy of "simplifying the mechanics through direct-drive actuators and advanced control methodologies". For this purpose, this paper investigates a class of direct-drive variable reluctance (VR) motion actuators for high performance motions, and also looks into a number of VR actuators suitable for robotic applications. It also highlights their features and advantages, and describes the challenges of controlling these devices.
 
Article
Reports on an aggressive project to develop an advanced, automated welding system, being completed at Babcock & Wilcox, CIM Systems. This system, the programmable automated welding system (PAWS), involves the integration of both planning and control technologies to address the needs of small batch robotic welding operations. PAWS is specifically designed to provide an automated means of planning, controlling, and evaluating critical welding situations in shipyard environments to improve productivity and quality. Five varieties (wall, lathe, floor mount, cantilevered, and gantry) of PAWS welding systems currently exist.
 
Article
Describes the ARMA concept, adaptive robotized multifunction assembly cell, as used at CTRI Robotics, a division of Dassault Aviation. The concept evolved in response to the demand for flexibility in automation system design, having recognized the inherent limitations of overspecialized equipment. Defines the mobility and placement corrective systems, the assembly process, information system, programming system, quality system, cell pilot, process control and man/machine interface. Concludes that the ARMA concept was implemented to provide the capabilities necessary automatically to assemble the Rafale fighter but, more importantly, is flexible enough also to assemble other and future aircraft.
 
The addition of two biologically plausible hypothesized sensory pathways representing the load of the ThC joint (joint load (obstacle)) and the joint angle of the CTr (joint angle (searching reflex)) can be used to initiate reflex behaviors necessary to navigate past obstructions
BILL-Ant-a performing an elevator reflex (top) and a searching reflex (bottom) 
Article
Purpose - Biological systems such as insects have often been used as a source of inspiration when developing walking robots. Insects' ability to nimbly navigate uneven terrain, and their observed behavioral complexity have been a beacon for engineers who have used behavioral data and hypothesized control systems to develop some remarkably agile robots. The purpose of this paper is to show how it is possible to implement models of relatively recent discoveries of the stick insect's local control system (its thoracic ganglia) for hexapod robot controllers. Design/methodology/approach - Walking control based on a model of the stick insect's thoracic ganglia, and not just observed insect behavior, has now been implemented in a complete hexapod able to walk, perform goal-seeking behavior, and obstacle surmounting behavior, such as searching and elevator reflexes. Descending modulation of leg controllers is also incorporated via a head module that modifies leg controller parameters to accomplish turning in a role similar to the insect's brain and subesophageal ganglion. Findings - While many of these features have been previously demonstrated in robotic subsystems, such as single- and two-legged test platforms, this is the first time that the neurobiological methods of control have been implemented in a complete, autonomous walking hexapod. Originality/value - The methods introduced here have minimal computation complexity and can be implemented on small robots with low-capability microcontrollers. This paper discusses the implementation of the biologically grounded insect control methods and descending modulation of those methods, and demonstrates the performance of the robot for navigating obstacles and performing phototaxis.
 
Article
This project was founded by the Swiss CTI project: highly compact robots for power plants inspections referenced as CTI 8435.1 EPRP‐IW and Aistom. The authors are thankful to Pierre Noirat, Tarek Baaboura, and André Guignard for their uncountable manufacturing skills and talents. The authors also want to thank Daniel Burnier, Phillipe Rétornaz, Stéphane Magnenat, and Michael Bonani for their support for electronics and software. This paper is an updated and revised version of the paper originally presented at the 13th International Conference on Climbing and Walking Robots and the Support Technologies for Mobile Machines (CLAWAR 2010), Nagoya, Japan, 31 August‐3 September 2010.
 
Article
Purpose – To demonstrate the theory and effectiveness of reliability‐improvement countermeasures for line equipment, specifically industrial robots for automotive production engineering. Design/methodology/approach – Suggests an efficient method of life‐cycle maintenance. The defects of industrial robots are analysed using Weibull analysis. Findings – From the analysis, a strategy of countermeasures is framed for component screening, reliability design and lifetime estimation. Originality/value – This method has been implemented worldwide in Toyota's factories, and has produced a better operating life cycle for industrial robots.
 
Article
Reports on the industrial robots papers presented at the two-day International Workshop on Advanced Robotics and Intelligent Machines held at the University of Salford. Subjects included: development of robotics in the UK; work on a generalized framework for intelligent robotic systems to analyse the solution of a co-operative foraging problem; research on developing a Cartesian simulator for rational agents; a neuro-force controller for robotic contact with non-rigid environments; development of a new control system architecture; and an intelligent robot equipped with multiple sensors enabling response to a disordered environment.
 
Article
Purpose – Aims to determine how robotics is used in white goods manufacture. Design/methodology/approach – Assesses robot applications at several white goods manufacturers, examining the challenges posed and the achievements made. Findings – The white goods sector offers diverse opportunities for robotisation, but the number of units installed is low. Originality/value – Reveals how the white goods industry views robotics and its value to production.
 
Article
Looks at the new generation of MetaTorch sensor systems which cost afraction of the original sensors produced ten years ago as well as beingsmaller in size, lighter and having greater flexibility. Describes the basicprinciples of optical seam sensing using state of the artcharge-coupled devices [CCDs], laser diodes and amicroprocessor which controls and monitors the major functions. New visionsoftware interfaces to most industrial robots and welding machines for bothnormal arc-welding and laser welding. Concludes that previously thewidespread use of adaptive vision sensing has been prevented by itsrelatively high price; the new price structure is likely to have animpact on the use of intelligent sensing systems for many industrialapplications.
 
Article
Purpose - In a soccer robot game, the environment is highly competitive and dynamic. In order to work in the dynamically changing environment, the decision-making system of a soccer robot system should have the features of flexibility and real-time adaptation. The purpose of this paper is to focus on the middle-size soccer robot league (MSL) and present new hierarchical hybrid fuzzy methods for decision making and action selection of an MSL robot. Design/methodology/approach - In this paper, new hierarchical hybrid fuzzy methods for decision making and action selection of a robot in MSL are presented. First, the behaviors of an agent are introduced, implemented and classified in two layers, the low-level behaviors and the high-level behaviors. In the second layer, a two-phase mechanism for decision making is introduced. In phase one, some useful methods are implemented which check the robot's situation for performing required behaviors. In the next phase, the team strategy, team formation, robot's role and the robot's positioning system are introduced. A fuzzy logical approach is employed to recognize the team strategy and furthermore to tell the player the best position to move. Findings - This methodology was implemented on the ADRO RoboCup Team and ADRO team performance 2008 was compared with its previous version 2007. The results showed the success of this methodology; the team performance in coordination and collaboration highly improved; in fact, the players switched their strategic area smoothly as the team strategy changed in a reasonable manner, the robots carried out the high-level behaviors much more efficiently and the final results were enhanced significantly. Originality/value - This paper is a result of the authors' original research work in the field of autonomous robot-middle size soccer robot, supported by Islamic Azad University - Khorasgan Branch, Isfahan, Iran.
 
Top-cited authors
Robert Bogue
  • Robert Bogue & Partners
Alin Albu-Schäeffer
  • German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Thomas Wimböck
  • German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Christian Ott
  • German Aerospace Center (DLR)
J. Norberto Pires
  • University of Coimbra