# Francesco Braghin's research while affiliated with Politecnico di Milano and other places

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## Publications (92)

Over the last few years, exoskeletons have been demonstrated to be useful tools for supporting the execution of neuromotor rehabilitation sessions. However, they are still not very present in hospitals. Therapists tend to be wary of this type of technology, thus reducing its acceptability and, therefore, its everyday use in clinical practice. The w...

In this work, we introduce the Agree exoskeleton, a robotic device designed to assist in upper-limb physical rehabilitation for post-stroke survivors. We detail the exoskeleton design at the mechatronic, actuation, and control levels. The Agree exoskeleton features a lightweight and adaptable mechanical design, which can be used with both the right...

In this chapter we use the method introduced in Chap. 4 to design a non-axisymmetric cloak and produce an underwater experimental validation of its functioning.

The purpose of this chapter is to review the background knowledge on transformation methods that is then used in the following of the book.

In this chapter, a method based on transformation acoustics is introduced to tackle systematically the design of pentamode cloaks aiming at reducing the acoustic scattering of elliptical obstacles.

This chapter is devoted to the review of some useful results related to wave propagation both in homogeneous and in periodic media and is intended to recall the fundamental knowledge on which the following of this work builds, other than to set the general notation used.

This chapter introduces the notion of cloaking and reviews the main ideas that have been developed during the last fifteen years to take this concept from theory to experimental assessment, underlining issues that remain open challenges for future research.

p>Robotic tasks featuring interaction with other bodies are increasingly required in industrial contexts. The manipulators need to interact with the environment in a compliant way to avoid damage, but, at the same time, are often required to accurately track a reference force. To this aim, interaction controllers are typically employed, but they ei...

p>Robotic tasks featuring interaction with other bodies are increasingly required in industrial contexts. The manipulators need to interact with the environment in a compliant way to avoid damage, but, at the same time, are often required to accurately track a reference force. To this aim, interaction controllers are typically employed, but they ei...

We consider the problem of optimally guiding a large-scale swarm of underwater vehicles that is tasked with the indirect control of an advection-diffusion environmental field. The microscopic vehicle dynamics are governed by a stochastic differential equation (SDE) with drift. The drift terms model the self-propelled velocity of the vehicle and the...

Introduction
Soft robotic wearable devices, referred to as exosuits, can be a valid alternative to rigid exoskeletons when it comes to daily upper limb support. Indeed, their inherent flexibility improves comfort, usability, and portability while not constraining the user’s natural degrees of freedom. This review is meant to guide the reader in und...

Physical human-robot collaboration is increasingly required in many contexts (such as industrial and rehabilitation applications). The robot needs to interact with the human to perform the target task while relieving the user from the workload. To do that, the robot should be able to recognize the human's intentions and guarantee safe and adaptive...

Rehabilitation exoskeletons can supplement therapist-based training allowing post-stroke patients to perform functional, high-dosage, repetitive exercises. The use of robotic devices allows providing intense rehabilitation sessions and permits clinicians to personalize the therapy according to the patient's need. In this work, we propose an upper-l...

The Electron Cyclotron Resonance Heating (ECRH) system of Divertor Tokamak Test (DTT) facility will feature up to 35.2 MW installed power. At the time of its completion, it will be the most powerful ECRH system ever realized. In full power configuration, 4 sectors of the tokamak will be equipped with equatorial and upper antennas with respectively...

Exhausting manual labor is still predominant in the industrial context. It typically consists in manipulating heavy parts or working in non-ergonomic conditions. The resulting work-related musculoskeletal disorders are a major problem to tackle. The most-affected body section is the lumbar spine. Recently, exoskeletons have been identified as a pos...

In this article, we describe an optimal control strategy for shaping a large-scale swarm of particles using boundary global actuation. This problem arises as a key challenge in many swarm robotics applications, especially when the robots are passive particles that need to be guided by external control fields. The system is large-scale and underactu...

The computation of the steady state response of large finite element discretized systems subject to periodic excitations is unfeasible because of excessive run time and memory requirements. One could in principle resort to reduced order models stemming from the high fidelity counterparts, which typically require a solution time orders of magnitude...

Accurate numerical modeling of normal-conducting accelerator magnets requires a reliable characterization of the iron saturation and hysteresis as well as a precise knowledge of the magnet geometry as built. Computations of the field quality are not easily achieving the accuracy required by the accelerator operation, particularly for eddy-current e...

In this paper, we propose a computationally efficient, robust density control strategy for the mean-field model of a robotic swarm. We formulate a static optimal control problem (OCP) that computes a robot velocity field which drives the swarm to a target equilibrium density, and we prove the stability of the controlled system in the presence of tr...

This paper presents a modeling and control framework for multibody flying robots subject to non-negligible aerodynamic forces acting on the centroidal dynamics. First, aerodynamic forces are calculated during robot flight in different operating conditions by means of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis. Then, analytical models of the aerody...

Jet-powered vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) drones require precise thrust estimation to ensure adequate stability margins and robust maneuvering. Small-scale turbojets have become good candidates for powering heavy aerial drones. However, due to limited instrumentation available in these turbojets, estimating the precise thrust using classical...

Most state-of-the-art works in trajectory forecasting for automotive target predicting the pose and orientation of the agents in the scene. This represents a particularly useful problem, for instance in autonomous driving, but it does not cover a spectrum of applications in control and simulation that require information on vehicle dynamics feature...

Service robotics is a fast-developing sector, requiring embedded intelligence into robotic platforms to interact with the humans and the surrounding environment. One of the main challenges in the field is robust and versatile manipulation in everyday life activities. An appealing opportunity is to exploit compliant end-effectors to address the mani...

This paper presents a learning-based method that uses simulation data to learn an object manipulation task using two model-free reinforcement learning (RL) algorithms. The learning performance is compared across on-policy and off-policy algorithms: Proximal Policy Optimization (PPO) and Soft Actor-Critic (SAC). In order to accelerate the learning p...

High‐performance robot control is one of the most investigated topics in both research and industry. Being able to compensate for robot dynamics is indeed one major challenge. Joint friction is commonly the main issue, especially in sensorless (i.e., no availability of torque/force sensors) compliance‐controlled robots for interaction application p...

World Endurance Championship (WEC) racing events are characterised by a relevant performance gap among competitors. The fastest vehicles category, consisting in hybrid vehicles, has to respect energy usage constraints set by the technical regulation. Considering absence of competitors, i.e. traffic conditions, the optimal energy usage strategy for...

In this paper, we consider the problem of optimally guiding a large-scale swarm of underwater vehicles that is tasked with the indirect control of an advection-diffusion environmental field. The microscopic vehicle dynamics are governed by a stochastic differential equation with drift. The drift terms model the self-propelled velocity of the vehicl...

In this paper, we show how to efficiently achieve thermal cloaking from a computational standpoint in several virtual scenarios by controlling a distribution of active heat sources. We frame this problem in the setting of PDE-constrained optimization, where the reference field is the solution of the time-dependent heat equation in the absence of th...

In literature, Extended Object Tracking (EOT) algorithms developed for autonomous driving predominantly provide obstacles state estimation in cartesian coordinates in the Vehicle Reference Frame. However, in many scenarios, state representation in road-aligned curvilinear coordinates is preferred when implementing autonomous driving subsystems like...

We develop an optimization framework for the design of acoustic cloaks, with the aim of overcoming the limitations of usual transformation-based cloaks in terms of microstructure complexity and shape arbitrarity of the obstacle. This is achieved by recasting the acoustic cloaking design as a nonlinear optimal control problem constrained by a linear...

Vehicle dynamics modelling is a widely used tool to run the design phase without the need of expensive prototypes. Models allow to understand the dynamic properties of the system and run sensitivity analysis faster, cheaper, and easier way with respect to physical testing. Being kick e-scooters a breakthrough introduction in the vehicular field, wi...

In literature, Extended Object Tracking (EOT) algorithms developed for autonomous driving predominantly provide obstacles state estimation in cartesian coordinates in the Vehicle Reference Frame. However, in many scenarios, state representation in road-aligned curvilinear coordinates is preferred when implementing autonomous driving subsystems like...

World Endurance Championship (WEC) racing events are characterised by a relevant performance gap among competitors. The fastest vehicles category, consisting in LMP1 race hybrid vehicles, has to respect energy usage constraints set by the technical regulation. Considering absence of competitors, i.e. traffic conditions, the optimal energy usage str...

Bio-inspired walking hexapod robots are a relatively young branch in robotics in both state of the art and applications. Despite their high degree of flexibility and adaptability derived by their redundant design, the research field that compliments their abilities is still very lacking. In this paper will be proposed state-of-the-art hexapod robot...

Focusing on autonomous driving algorithm development, this paper proposes a novel real-time trajectory planner formulated as a Nonlinear Model Predictive Control (NMPC) algorithm. The mathematical formulation of the problem is deeply reported and discussed. The numerical solution of the NMPC problem is the result of a novel genetic algorithm strate...

We experimentally achieve selective wave filtering and polarization control in a three-dimensional elastic frame embedding local resonators. By connecting multi-resonating elements to a frame structure, a complete low-frequency, subwavelength bandgap with strong selective filtering properties is obtained. Theory and experiments demonstrate the meta...

Effective control design of flying vehicles requires a reliable estimation of the propellers’ thrust forces to secure a successful flight. Direct measurements of thrust forces, however, are seldom available in practice and on-line thrust estimation usually follows from the application of fusion algorithms that process on-board sensor data. This let...

We experimentally achieve selective wave filtering and polarization control in a three-dimensional elastic frame embedding local resonators. By connecting multi-resonating elements to a frame structure, a complete low-frequency, subwavelength bandgap with strong selective filtering properties is obtained. Theory and experiments demonstrate the meta...

We show efficient elastic energy transfer and wave confinement through a graded array of resonators attached to an elastic beam. Experiments demonstrate that flexural resonators of increasing lengths allow to reduce wave scattering and to achieve the rainbow effect with local wavefield amplifications. We show that the definition of a monotonically...

In this paper we report the numerical design and experimental validation of a pentamode cloak for scattering reduction of elliptical targets in underwater acoustics. Despite being a well-known theoretical concept, experimental validations of transformation-based acoustic cloaking for non-axisymmetric targets have been hindered due to the difficulti...

Many real-world tasks require multiple agents to work together. When talking about multiple agents in robotics, it is usually referenced to multiple manipulators in collaboration to solve a given task, where each one is controlled by a single agent. However, due to the increasing development of modular and re-configurable robots, it is also importa...

In this paper we show how to efficiently achieve thermal cloaking from a computational standpoint in several virtual scenarios by controlling a distribution of active heat sources. We frame this problem in the setting of PDE-constrained optimization, where the reference field is the solution of the time-dependent heat equation in the absence of the...

We develop an optimization framework for the design of acoustic cloaks, with the aim of overcoming the limitations of usual transformation-based cloaks in terms of microstructure complexity and shape arbitrarity of the obstacle. This is achieved by recasting the acoustic cloaking design as a nonlinear optimal control problem constrained by a linear...

In this paper, we investigate how the self-synchronization property of a swarm of Kuramoto oscillators can be controlled and exploited to achieve target densities and target phase coherence. In the limit of an infinite number of oscillators, the collective dynamics of the agents' density is described by a mean-field model in the form of a nonlocal...

We experimentally achieve wave-mode conversion and rainbow trapping in an elastic waveguide loaded with an array of resonators. Rainbow trapping is a phenomenon that induces wave confinement as a result of a spatial variation of the wave velocity, here promoted by gently varying the length of consecutive resonators. By breaking the geometrical symm...

Physical human-robot collaboration is increasingly required in many contexts (such as industrial and rehabilitation applications). The robot needs to interact with the human to perform the target task while relieving the user from the workload. To do that, the robot should be able to recognize the human's intentions, guaranteeing a safe and adaptiv...

Lattice structures are lightweight engineering components suitable for a great variety of applications, including those in which the structural integrity under vibration fatigue is of paramount importance. In this work, we experimentally and numerically investigate the dynamic response of two distinct lattice configurations, in terms of fatigue dam...

The temporal modulation of a relevant parameter can be employed to induce modal transformations in Hermitian elastic lattices. When this is combined with a proper excitation mechanism, it allows to drive the energy transfer across the lattice with tunable propagation rates. Such a modal transformation, however, is limited by the adiabaticity of the...

In this paper we report the numerical design and experimental validation of a pentamode cloak for scattering reduction of elliptical targets in underwater acoustics. Despite being a well-known theoretical concept, experimental validations of transformation-based acoustic cloaking for non-axisymmetric targets have been hindered due to the difficulti...

Nowadays, micro-mobility is one of the major global trends in cities for the innovation of the transport system. In this context a breakthrough introduction of electric kick scooters (e-scooters) has taken place. Unfortunately, these mobility systems cause several accidents mainly for two reasons: wrong use and inadequate safety requirements. Since...

Cloaks for underwater applications designed for actual submarine acoustic stealth are still far from the technological advancement needed for being put in practice. Several challenges need to be overcome such as dealing with weight or non-axisymmetric shapes. In this paper, we introduce the use of elliptical coordinates to define quasi-symmetric tr...

In this paper, we propose a novel design and optimization environment for inertial MEMS devices based on a computationally efficient schematization of the structure at the a device level. This allows us to obtain a flexible and efficient design optimization tool, particularly useful for rapid device prototyping. The presented design environment—feM...

In this paper we present a density based topology optimization approach to the synthesis of industrially relevant MEMS resonators. The methodology addresses general resonators employing suspended proof masses or plates, where the first structural vibration modes are typically of interest and have to match specific target eigenfrequencies. As a sign...

Active exoskeletons can help adults with muscular dystrophy regain independence and self-esteem, which have been limited due to their severe and progressive muscular weakness. A four degrees-of-freedom fully actuated upper limb exoskeleton, equipped with a spring-based anti-gravity system, has been designed, prototyped, and tested on end-users. Whi...

Self-driving technology is expected to revolutionize different sectors and is seen as the natural evolution of road vehicles. In the last years, real-world validation of designed and virtually tested solutions is growing in importance since simulated environments will never fully replicate all the aspects that can affect results in the real world....

Background: Appropriate training modalities for post-stroke upper-limb rehabilitation are key features for effective recovery after the acute event. This work presents a novel human-robot cooperative control framework that promotes compliant motion and renders different high-level human-robot interaction rehabilitation modalities under a unified lo...

Time-varying fields in fast-ramping magnets for accelerators are difficult to compute in the range of the accuracy required for magnet operation. This is due to the complexity of the dynamic phenomena such as hysteresis and 3D eddy currents. On the other hand, magnetic measurements that intercept all these physical phenomena are often limited to a...

Cloaks for underwater applications designed for actual submarine acoustic stealth are still far from the technological advancement needed for being put in practice. Several challenges are to be overcame such as dealing with weight or non-axisymmetric shapes. In this paper, we introduce the use of elliptical coordinates to define quasi-symmetric tra...

This paper presents a trajectory planner for autonomous driving based on a Nonlinear Model Predictive Control (NMPC) algorithm that accounts for Pacejka's nonlinear lateral tyre dynamics as well as for zero speed conditions through a novel slip angles calculation. In the NMPC framework, road boundaries and obstacles (both static and moving) are tak...

The temporal modulation of a relevant parameter can be employed to induce modal transformations in Hermitian elastic lattices. When this is combined with a proper excitation mechanism, it allows to drive the energy transfer across the lattice with tunable propagation rates. Such a modal transformation, however, is limited by the adiabaticity of the...

We experimentally achieve wave mode conversion and rainbow trapping in an elastic waveguide loaded with an array of resonators. Rainbow trapping is a phenomenon that induces wave confinement as a result of a spatial variation of the wave velocity, here promoted by gently varying the length of consecutive resonators. By breaking the geometrical symm...

We describe in this paper an optimal control strategy for shaping a large-scale swarm of particles using boundary global actuation. This problem arises as a key challenge in many swarm robotics applications, especially when the robots are passive particles that need to be guided by external control fields. The system is large-scale and underactuate...