Journal of Robotics The latest articles from Hindawi Publishing Corporation © 2015 , Hindawi Publishing Corporation . All rights reserved. Dual Arm Free Flying Space Robot Trajectory Planning Using Polynomial Thu, 26 Feb 2015 10:20:00 +0000 The paper presents path planning of dual arm free flying space robot using smooth functions of time. Kinematic and dynamic modeling of dual arm free flying space robot is presented first. Using kinematic model, the Jacobian of the system has been derived, and using dynamic model, equations of motion are derived. A path planning methodology for planar system is developed using smooth function of time such as polynomials. Due to nonholonomic behaviour of the manipulator in the zero gravity environment linear and angular momentum is conserved. The proposed method yields input trajectories that drive both the manipulator and the base to a desired configuration. Joint torque curves can be obtained by introducing this joint trajectory curves in equation of motion of the space robot. Rishikesh Rathee and Pushparaj Mani Pathak Copyright © 2015 Rishikesh Rathee and Pushparaj Mani Pathak. All rights reserved. Passive Transparency Compensation for Bilateral Teleoperators with Communication Delays Wed, 25 Feb 2015 06:32:32 +0000 One of the main challenges in the realization of time-delayed bilateral teleoperators is the stable adaptation of transparency when the remote environmental dynamics are time-varying. In this paper, we propose a bilateral control strategy that passively adjusts the transparency of the system when the slave robot transitions between two different environments. The proposed controller exploits the effect that the wave impedance (a design parameter of the passivity-based scattering transformation) has on transparency without comprising closed-loop stability, regardless of time-varying communication delays. To properly adjust transparency, the control scheme smoothly switches the wave impedance parameter between a low value, ideal for free motion, and a sufficiently large value, suited for hard-contact tasks. We show that, by adopting this strategy, the transmitted impedance to the operator approximates more closely the environmental impedance value. Furthermore, we theoretically prove master-slave position coordination and force tracking under different scenarios. Simulation results illustrate the effectiveness of the proposed control strategy. Erick J. Rodríguez-Seda Copyright © 2015 Erick J. Rodríguez-Seda. All rights reserved. A Fast Learning Method for Multilayer Perceptrons in Automatic Speech Recognition Systems Mon, 23 Feb 2015 14:12:10 +0000 We propose a fast learning method for multilayer perceptrons (MLPs) on large vocabulary continuous speech recognition (LVCSR) tasks. A preadjusting strategy based on separation of training data and dynamic learning-rate with a cosine function is used to increase the accuracy of a stochastic initial MLP. Weight matrices of the preadjusted MLP are restructured by a method based on singular value decomposition (SVD), reducing the dimensionality of the MLP. A back propagation (BP) algorithm that fits the unfolded weight matrices is used to train the restructured MLP, reducing the time complexity of the learning process. Experimental results indicate that on LVCSR tasks, in comparison with the conventional learning method, this fast learning method can achieve a speedup of around 2.0 times with improvement on both the cross entropy loss and the frame accuracy. Moreover, it can achieve a speedup of approximately 3.5 times with only a little loss of the cross entropy loss and the frame accuracy. Since this method consumes less time and space than the conventional method, it is more suitable for robots which have limitations on hardware. Chenghao Cai, Yanyan Xu, Dengfeng Ke, and Kaile Su Copyright © 2015 Chenghao Cai et al. All rights reserved. The COMRADE System for Multirobot Autonomous Landmine Detection in Postconflict Regions Sun, 15 Feb 2015 10:33:44 +0000 We consider the problem of autonomous landmine detection using a team of mobile robots. Previous research on robotic landmine detection mostly employs a single robot equipped with a landmine detection sensor to detect landmines. We envisage that the quality of landmine detection can be significantly improved if multiple robots are coordinated to detect landmines in a cooperative manner by incrementally fusing the landmine-related sensor information they collect and then use that information to visit locations of potential landmines. Towards this objective, we describe a multirobot system called COMRADES to address different aspects of the autonomous landmine detection problem including distributed area coverage to detect and locate landmines, information aggregation to fuse the sensor information obtained by different robots, and multirobot task allocation (MRTA) to enable different robots to determine a suitable sequence to visit locations of potential landmines while reducing the time required and battery expended. We have used commercially available all-terrain robots called Coroware Explorer that are customized with a metal detector to detect metallic objects including landmines, as well as indoor Corobot robots, both in simulation and in physical experiments, to test the different techniques in COMRADES. Prithviraj Dasgupta, José Baca, K. R. Guruprasad, Angélica Muñoz-Meléndez, and Janyl Jumadinova Copyright © 2015 Prithviraj Dasgupta et al. All rights reserved. Self-Organized Fission Control for Flocking System Mon, 02 Feb 2015 09:41:36 +0000 This paper studies the self-organized fission control problem for flocking system. Motivated by the fission behavior of biological flocks, information coupling degree (ICD) is firstly designed to represent the interaction intensity between individuals. Then, from the information transfer perspective, a “maximum-ICD” based pairwise interaction rule is proposed to realize the directional information propagation within the flock. Together with the “separation/alignment/cohesion” rules, a self-organized fission control algorithm is established that achieves the spontaneous splitting of flocking system under conflict external stimuli. Finally, numerical simulations are provided to demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed algorithm. Mingyong Liu, Panpan Yang, Xiaokang Lei, and Yang Li Copyright © 2015 Mingyong Liu et al. All rights reserved. Smart Tendon Actuated Flexible Actuator Thu, 29 Jan 2015 13:03:45 +0000 We investigate the kinematic feasibility of a tendon-based flexible parallel platform actuator. Much of the research on tendon-driven Stewart platforms is devoted either to the completely restrained positioning mechanism (CRPM) or to one particular type of the incompletely restrained positioning mechanism (IRPM) where the external force is provided by the gravitational pull on the platform such as in cable-suspended Stewart platforms. An IRPM-based platform is proposed which uses the external force provided by a compliant member. The compliant central column allows the configuration to achieve DOFs with tendons. In particular, this investigation focuses on the angular deflection of the upper platform with respect to the lower platform. The application here is aimed at developing a linkable module that can be connected to one another so as to form a “snake robot” of sorts. Since locomotion takes precedence over positioning in this application, a 3-DOF Stewart platform is adopted. For an arbitrary angular displace of the end-effector, the corresponding length of each tendon can be determined through inverse kinematics. Mathematical singularities are investigated using the traditional analytical method of defining the Jacobian. Md. Masum Billah and Raisuddin Khan Copyright © 2015 Md. Masum Billah and Raisuddin Khan. All rights reserved. Pose Self-Measurement of Noncooperative Spacecraft Based on Solar Panel Triangle Structure Mon, 26 Jan 2015 07:37:49 +0000 Aiming at the recognition and location of noncooperative spacecraft, this paper presents a monocular vision pose measurement method based on solar triangle structure. First of all, an autonomous recognition algorithm of feature structure based on sliding window Hough transformation (SWHT) and inscribed circle of a triangle is proposed, and the image coordinates of feature points on the triangle can be obtained relying on this algorithm, combined with the P4P algorithm and the structure of spacecraft, calculating the relative pose of target expressed by rotation and translation matrix. The whole algorithm can be loaded into the prewritten onboard program, which will get the autocomplete feature structure extraction and relative pose measurement without human intervention, and this method does not need to mount any markers on the target. Then compare the measured values with the accurate value of the laser tracker, so that a conclusion can be drawn that the maximum position error is lower than 5% and the rotation error is lower than 4%, which meets the requirements of noncooperative spacecraft’s pose measurement for observations, tracking, and docking in the final rendezvous phase. Jingzhou Song and Caixiu Cao Copyright © 2015 Jingzhou Song and Caixiu Cao. All rights reserved. Nonholonomic Motion Planning Strategy for Underactuated Manipulator Thu, 18 Dec 2014 00:10:19 +0000 This paper develops nonholonomic motion planning strategy for three-joint underactuated manipulator, which uses only two actuators and can be converted into chained form. Since the manipulator was designed focusing on the control simplicity, there are several issues for motion planning, mainly including transformation singularity, path estimation, and trajectory robustness in the presence of initial errors, which need to be considered. Although many existing motion planning control laws for chained form system can be directly applied to the manipulator and steer it to desired configuration, coordinate transformation singularities often happen. We propose two mathematical techniques to avoid the transformation singularities. Then, two evaluation indicators are defined and used to estimate control precision and linear approximation capability. In the end, the initial error sensitivity matrix is introduced to describe the interference sensitivity, which is called robustness. The simulation and experimental results show that an efficient and robust resultant path of three-joint underactuated manipulator can be successfully obtained by use of the motion planning strategy we presented. Liang Li, Yuegang Tan, and Zhang Li Copyright © 2014 Liang Li et al. All rights reserved. Humanoid Robot Head Design Based on Uncanny Valley and FACS Sun, 14 Dec 2014 11:55:58 +0000 Emotional robots are always the focus of artificial intelligence (AI), and intelligent control of robot facial expression is a hot research topic. This paper focuses on the design of humanoid robot head, which is divided into three steps to achieve. The first step is to solve the uncanny valley about humanoid robot, to find and avoid the relationship between human being and robot; the second step is to solve the association between human face and robot head; compared with human being and robots, we analyze the similarities and differences and explore the same basis and mechanisms between robot and human analyzing the Facial Action Coding System (FACS), which guides us to achieve humanoid expressions. On the basis of the previous two steps, the third step is to construct a robot head; through a series of experiments we test the robot head, which could show some humanoid expressions; through human-robot interaction, we find people are surprised by the robot head expression and feel happy. Jizheng Yan, Zhiliang Wang, and Yan Yan Copyright © 2014 Jizheng Yan et al. All rights reserved. Theory Analysis and Experiment Research of the Leg Mechanism for the Human-Carrying Walking Chair Robot Wed, 10 Dec 2014 08:10:48 +0000 For the high carrying capacity of the human-carrying walking chair robot, in this paper, 2-UPS+UP parallel mechanism is selected as the leg mechanism; then kinematics, workspace, control, and experiment of the leg mechanism are researched in detail. Firstly, design of the whole mechanism is described and degrees of freedom of the leg mechanism are analyzed. Second, the forward position, inverse position, and velocity of leg mechanism are studied. Third, based on the kinematics analysis and the structural constraints, the reachable workspace of 2-UPS+UP parallel mechanism is solved, and then the optimal motion workspace is searched in the reachable workspace by choosing the condition number as the evaluation index. Fourth, according to the theory analysis of the parallel leg mechanism, its control system is designed and the compound position control strategy is studied. Finally, in optimal motion workspace, the compound position control strategy is verified by using circular track with the radius 100 mm; the experiment results show that the leg mechanism moves smoothly and does not tremble obviously. Theory analysis and experiment research of the single leg mechanism provide a theoretical foundation for the control of the quadruped human-carrying walking chair robot. Lingfeng Sang, Hongbo Wang, Shuaishuai Wang, Na Chen, and Yuehua Wen Copyright © 2014 Lingfeng Sang et al. All rights reserved. Asymmetric Bellow Flexible Pneumatic Actuator for Miniature Robotic Soft Gripper Wed, 03 Dec 2014 06:39:53 +0000 The necessity of the soft gripping devices is increasing day-by-day in medical robotics especially when safe, gentle motions and soft touch are necessary. In this paper, a novel asymmetric bellow flexible pneumatic actuator (AFPA) has been designed and fabricated to construct a miniaturised soft gripper that could be used to grip small objects. The model of AFPA is designed using solid works and its bending motion is simulated in Abaqus software for optimisation and compared with experimental results. The actuator is fabricated using compression molding process that includes micromachining of the molds. Experiments conducted show the bending characteristics of the actuator at different pressures. The actuator shows excellent bending performance and the eccentricity in its design supports increased bending or curling motion up to a certain extent compared to normal bellows without eccentricity. The effects of profile shape and eccentricity on the actuator performance are analysed and the results are presented. Ganesha Udupa, Pramod Sreedharan, P. Sai Dinesh, and Doik Kim Copyright © 2014 Ganesha Udupa et al. All rights reserved. Kinematics and Dynamics of an Asymmetrical Parallel Robotic Wrist Mon, 01 Dec 2014 00:10:04 +0000 This paper introduces an asymmetrical parallel robotic wrist, which can generate a decoupled unlimited-torsion motion and achieve high positioning accuracy. The kinematics, dexterity, and singularities of the manipulator are investigated to visualize the performance contours of the manipulator. Using the method of Lagrange multipliers and considering all the mobile components, the equations of motion of the manipulator are derived to investigate the dynamic characteristics efficiently. The developed dynamic model is numerically illustrated and compared with its simplified formulation to show its computation accuracy. Guanglei Wu Copyright © 2014 Guanglei Wu. All rights reserved. Design of a Sapling Branch Grafting Robot Sun, 23 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0000 The automatic sapling grafting methods and grafting robot technologies are not comprehensively studied despite the fact that they are urgently required in practice. For this reason, a sapling grafting robot is developed to implement automatic grafting for saplings. The developed grafting robot includes clipping mechanism, moving mechanism, cutting mechanism, binding mechanism, and Arduino MCU based control system, which is capable of clipping, moving, positioning, cutting, grafting, and binding saplings. Experiments show that the stock cutting efficiency is 98.4%, the scion cutting efficiency is 98.9%, the grafting efficiency is 87.3%, and the binding efficiency is 68.9%. Qun Sun, Dongjie Zhao, Chong Wang, and Ying Zhao Copyright © 2014 Qun Sun et al. All rights reserved. Dynamics Modeling of a Continuum Robotic Arm with a Contact Point in Planar Grasp Thu, 20 Nov 2014 07:48:46 +0000 Grasping objects by continuum arms or fingers is a new field of interest in robotics. Continuum manipulators have the advantages of high adaptation and compatibility with respect to the object shape. However, due to their extremely nonlinear behavior and infinite degrees of freedom, continuum arms cannot be easily modeled. In fact, dynamics modeling of continuum robotic manipulators is state-of-the-art. Using the exact modeling approaches, such as theory of Cosserat rod, the resulting models are either too much time-taking for computation or numerically unstable. Thus, such models are not suitable for applications such as real-time control. However, based on realistic assumptions and using some approximations, these systems can be modeled with reasonable computational efforts. In this paper, a planar continuum robotic arm is modeled, considering its backbone as two circular arcs. In order to simulate finger grasping, the continuum arm experiences a point-force along its body. Finally, the results are validated using obtained experimental data. Mohammad Dehghani and S. Ali A. Moosavian Copyright © 2014 Mohammad Dehghani and S. Ali A. Moosavian. All rights reserved. Dynamics Modeling and Control of a Quadrotor with Swing Load Mon, 17 Nov 2014 07:39:03 +0000 Nowadays, aerial robots or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) have many applications in civilian and military fields. For example, of these applications is aerial monitoring, picking loads and moving them by different grippers. In this research, a quadrotor with a cable-suspended load with eight degrees of freedom is considered. The purpose is to control the position and attitude of the quadrotor on a desired trajectory in order to move the considered load with constant length of cable. So, the purpose of this research is proposing and designing an antiswing control algorithm for the suspended load. To this end, control and stabilization of the quadrotor are necessary for designing the antiswing controller. Furthermore, this paper is divided into two parts. In the first part, dynamics model is developed using Newton-Euler formulation, and obtained equations are verified in comparison with Lagrange approach. Consequently, a nonlinear control strategy based on dynamic model is used in order to control the position and attitude of the quadrotor. The performance of this proposed controller is evaluated by nonlinear simulations and, finally, the results demonstrate the effectiveness of the control strategy for the quadrotor with suspended load in various maneuvers. S. Sadr, S. Ali A. Moosavian, and P. Zarafshan Copyright © 2014 S. Sadr et al. All rights reserved. Biological Immune System Applications on Mobile Robot for Disabled People Tue, 11 Nov 2014 06:59:32 +0000 To improve the service quality of service robots for the disabled, immune system is applied on robot for its advantages such as diversity, dynamic, parallel management, self-organization, and self-adaptation. According to the immune system theory, local environment condition sensed by robot is considered an antigen while robot is regarded as B-cell and possible node as antibody, respectively. Antibody-antigen affinity is employed to choose the optimal possible node to ensure the service robot can pass through the optimal path. The paper details the immune system applications on service robot and gives experimental results. Songmin Jia, Xue Zhao, Wenbin Qu, and Yuchen Li Copyright © 2014 Songmin Jia et al. All rights reserved. An Ethnomethodological Study of a Museum Guide Robot’s Attempt at Engagement and Disengagement Sun, 19 Oct 2014 12:34:33 +0000 We conducted a study of a museum guide robot’s attempt at engaging and disengaging the audience at predetermined points in time during a guided tour. We used “ethnomethodology” as a tool for our study and analysis. In this paper, we describe how we developed, tested, and analyzed a museum guide robot system that borrows cues from social scientists to manage an audience. We have described how we began our study, the previous studies that we referred to, the initial attempts to test our concept, the development of the system, the real-world experiments, and the analysis of the data that we collected. We have described the tools of engagement and disengagement that the robot has used and presented the results of our statistical analysis of the experimental data. Most prominently, we found that a verbal gesture called “summative assessment” and a nonverbal gesture called the “lean-back” gesture are very effective as tools of disengagement. These tools help a robot guide to manage the audience in the same way as a human guide. Moreover, we found that a combination of the aforementioned two gestures is more effective than employing them separately. Madhumita Ghosh and Hideaki Kuzuoka Copyright © 2014 Madhumita Ghosh and Hideaki Kuzuoka. All rights reserved. Exponential Tracking Control Using Backstepping Approach for Voltage-Based Control of a Flexible Joint Electrically Driven Robot Mon, 08 Sep 2014 08:21:48 +0000 This paper addresses the design of exponential tracking control using backstepping approach for voltage-based control of a flexible joint electrically driven robot (EFJR), to cope with the difficulty introduced by the cascade structure in EFJR dynamic model, to deal with flexibility in joints, and to ensure fast tracking performance. Backstepping approach is used to ensure global asymptotic stability and its common algorithm is modified such that the link position and velocity errors converge to zero exponentially fast. In contrast with the other backstepping controller for electrically driven flexible joint robot manipulators control problem, the proposed controller is robust with respect to stiffness uncertainty and allows tracking fast motions. Simulation results are presented for both single link flexible joint electrically driven manipulator and 2-DOF flexible joint electrically driven robot manipulator. These simulations show very satisfactory tracking performances and the superiority of the proposed controller to those performed in the literature using simple backstepping methodology. Jean Bosco Mbede and Joseph Jean-Baptiste Mvogo Ahanda Copyright © 2014 Jean Bosco Mbede and Joseph Jean-Baptiste Mvogo Ahanda. All rights reserved. Path Following of Autonomous Vehicle in 2D Space Using Multivariable Sliding Mode Control Wed, 20 Aug 2014 08:27:09 +0000 A solution to the path following problem for underactuated autonomous vehicles in the presence of possibly large modeling parametric uncertainty is proposed. For a general class of vehicles moving in 2D space, we demonstrated a path following control law based on multiple variable sliding mode that yields global boundedness and convergence of the position tracking error to a small neighborhood and robustness to parametric modeling uncertainty. An error integration element is added into the “tanh” function of the traditional sliding mode control. We illustrated our results in the context of the vehicle control applications that an underwater vehicle moves along with the desired paths in 2D space. Simulations show that the control objectives were accomplished. Daxiong Ji, Jian Liu, Hongyu Zhao, and Yiqun Wang Copyright © 2014 Daxiong Ji et al. All rights reserved. Cam Drive Step Mechanism of a Quadruped Robot Thu, 10 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0000 Bionic quadruped robots received considerable worldwide research attention. For a quadruped robot walking with steady paces on a flat terrain, using a cam drive control mechanism instead of servomotors provides theoretical and practical benefits as it reduces the system weight, cost, and control complexities; thus it may be more cost beneficial for some recreational or household applications. This study explores the robot step mechanism including the leg and cam drive control systems based on studying the bone structure and the kinematic step sequences of dog. The design requirements for the cam drive robot legs have been raised, and the mechanical principles of the leg operating mechanism as well as the control parameters have been analyzed. A cam drive control system was constructed using three cams to control each leg. Finally, a four-leg demo robot was manufactured for experiments and it showed stable walking patterns on a flat floor. Qun Sun, Chong Wang, Dongjie Zhao, and Cuihua Zhang Copyright © 2014 Qun Sun et al. All rights reserved. Design, Fabrication, and Swimming Performance of a Free-Swimming Tuna-Mimetic Robot Mon, 26 May 2014 09:30:41 +0000 High efficiency in cruising is a determining factor in developing tuna-mimetic robots. So far, a number of tuna-like robots have been made. Nevertheless, the University of Canterbury has developed its own tuna-like robot called UC-Ika 1 to investigate and to accordingly improve the swimming performance of the biomimetic swimming robots. In order to do so, the propulsion system of a tuna with respect to its thrust and resistive forces is studied. Following that, the fish robot is designed and fabricated considering the tuna propulsion system. The robot is then tested several times to investigate its swimming performance. Comparison of the speed and efficiency of UC-Ika 1 with those of other tuna-like robots shows a promising improvement of cruising performance of UC-Ika 1. Sayyed Farideddin Masoomi, Axel Haunholter, Dominic Merz, Stefanie Gutschmidt, XiaoQi Chen, and Mathieu Sellier Copyright © 2014 Sayyed Farideddin Masoomi et al. All rights reserved. Research of a New 6-Dof Force Feedback Hand Controller System Wed, 16 Apr 2014 07:20:09 +0000 The field of teleoperation with force telepresence has expanded its scope to include manipulation at different scales and in virtual worlds, and the key component of which is force feedback hand controller. This paper presents a novel force feedback hand controller system, including a 3-dof translational and 3-dof rotational hand controllers, respectively, to implement position and posture teleoperation of the robot end effector. The 3-dof translational hand controller adopts innovative three-axes decoupling structure based on the linear motor; the 3-dof rotational hand controller adopts serial mechanism based on three-axes intersecting at one point, improving its overall stiffness. Based on the kinematics, statics, and dynamics analyses for two platforms separately, the system applies big closed-loop force control method based on the zero force/torque, improving the feedback force/torque accuracy effectively. Experimental results show that self-developed 6-dof force feedback hand controller has good mechanical properties. The translational hand controller has the following advantages: simple kinematics solver, fast dynamic response, and better than 0.05 mm accuracy of three-axis end positioning, while the advantages of the rotational hand controller are wide turning space, larger than 1 Nm feedback, greater than 180 degrees of operating space of three axes, respectively, and high operation precision. Xin Gao, Yifan Wang, Jingzhou Song, Qingxuan Jia, and Hanxu Sun Copyright © 2014 Xin Gao et al. All rights reserved. Kinematics, Singularity, and Workspaces of a Planar 4-Bar Tensegrity Mechanism Tue, 25 Mar 2014 09:12:02 +0000 Compared with conventional mechanisms, tensegrity mechanisms have many attractive characteristics such as light weight, high ratio of strength to weight, and accuracy of modeling. In this paper, the kinematics, singularity, and workspaces of a planar 4-bar tensegrity mechanism have been investigated. Firstly, the analytical solutions to the forward and inverse kinematic problems are found by using an energy based method. Secondly, the definition of a tensegrity mechanism’s Jacobian is introduced. As a consequence, the singularity analysis of the planar 4-bar tensegrity mechanism has been completed. Thirdly, the actuator and output workspaces are mapped. Finally, some attractive characteristics of the mechanism are concluded. Zhifei Ji, Tuanjie Li, and Min Lin Copyright © 2014 Zhifei Ji et al. All rights reserved. Kinematics Analysis of a Novel Five-Degree-of-Freedom Spatial Parallel Micromanipulator Tue, 25 Mar 2014 07:27:51 +0000 A study of the inverse kinematics for a five-degree-of-freedom (DOF) spatial parallel micromanipulator is presented here below. The objective of this paper is the introduction of a structural and geometrical model of a novel five-degree-of-freedom spatial parallel micromanipulator, analysis of the effective and useful workspace of the micromechanism, presentation of the obtained analytical solutions of the microrobot’s inverse kinematics tasks, and verification of its correctness using selected computer programs and computation environments. The mathematical model presented in this paper describes the behaviour of individual elements for the applied 2-DOF novel piezoelectric actuator, resulting from the position and orientation of the microrobot’s moving platform. Daniel Prusak, Konrad Kobus, and Grzegorz Karpiel Copyright © 2014 Daniel Prusak et al. All rights reserved. Rehabilitation Robotics 2013 Tue, 18 Mar 2014 09:06:10 +0000 Kazuhiko Terashima, Shigeyuki Suzuki, Oliver Sawodny, Ryojyun Ikeura, Ken'ichi Yano, and Ryo Saegusa Copyright © 2014 Kazuhiko Terashima et al. All rights reserved. Bra.Di.P.O. and P.I.G.R.O.: Innovative Devices for Motor Learning Programs Tue, 11 Mar 2014 00:00:00 +0000 Two mechatronics prototypes, useful for robotic neurotreatments and new clinical trainings, are here presented. P.I.G.R.O. (pneumatic interactive gait rehabilitation orthosis) is an active exoskeleton with an electropneumatic control. It imposes movements on lower limbs in order to produce in the patient’s brain proper motor cortex activation. Bra.Di.P.O. (brain discovery pneumatic orthosis) is an MR-compatible device, designed to improve fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) analysis. The two devices are presented together because both are involved in the study of new robotic treatments of patients affected by ictus or brain stroke or in some motor learning experimental investigations carried out on healthy subjects. Guido Belforte, Gabriella Eula, Silvia Sirolli, Paolo Bois, Elisabetta Geda, Federico D'Agata, Franco Cauda, Sergio Duca, Marina Zettin, Roberta Virgilio, Giuliano Geminiani, and Katiuscia Sacco Copyright © 2014 Guido Belforte et al. All rights reserved. A Large-Scale Multibody Manipulator Soft Sensor Model and Experiment Validation Thu, 06 Feb 2014 14:03:49 +0000 Stress signal is difficult to obtain in the health monitoring of multibody manipulator. In order to solve this problem, a soft sensor method is presented. In the method, stress signal is considered as dominant variable and angle signal is regarded as auxiliary variable. By establishing the mathematical relationship between them, a soft sensor model is proposed. In the model, the stress information can be deduced by angle information which can be easily measured for such structures by experiments. Finally, test of ground and wall working conditions is done on a multibody manipulator test rig. The results show that the stress calculated by the proposed method is closed to the test one. Thus, the stress signal is easier to get than the traditional method. All of these prove that the model is correct and the method is feasible. Wu Ren, Yunxin Wu, Zhaowei Zhang, and Fan Hu Copyright © 2014 Wu Ren et al. All rights reserved. Improving Inverse Dynamics Accuracy in a Planar Walking Model Based on Stable Reference Point Thu, 06 Feb 2014 13:39:51 +0000 Physiologically and biomechanically, the human body represents a complicated system with an abundance of degrees of freedom (DOF). When developing mathematical representations of the body, a researcher has to decide on how many of those DOF to include in the model. Though accuracy can be enhanced at the cost of complexity by including more DOF, their necessity must be rigorously examined. In this study a planar seven-segment human body walking model with single DOF joints was developed. A reference point was added to the model to track the body’s global position while moving. Due to the kinematic instability of the pelvis, the top of the head was selected as the reference point, which also assimilates the vestibular sensor position. Inverse dynamics methods were used to formulate and solve the equations of motion based on Newton-Euler formulae. The torques and ground reaction forces generated by the planar model during a regular gait cycle were compared with similar results from a more complex three-dimensional OpenSim model with muscles, which resulted in correlation errors in the range of 0.9–0.98. The close comparison between the two torque outputs supports the use of planar models in gait studies. Alaa Abdulrahman, Kamran Iqbal, and Gannon White Copyright © 2014 Alaa Abdulrahman et al. All rights reserved. Swarm Robot Control for Human Services and Moving Rehabilitation by Sensor Fusion Sun, 02 Feb 2014 13:01:57 +0000 A current trend in robotics is fusing different types of sensors having different characteristics to improve the performance of a robot system and also benefit from the reduced cost of sensors. One type of robot that requires sensor fusion for its application is the service robot. To achieve better performance, several service robots are preferred to work together, and, hence, this paper concentrates on swarm service robots. Swarm service mobile robots operating within a fixed area need to cope with dynamic changes in the environment, and they must also be capable of avoiding dynamic and static obstacles. This study applies sensor fusion and swarm concept for service mobile robots in human services and rehabilitation environment. The swarm robots follow the human moving trajectory to provide support to human moving and perform several tasks required in their living environment. This study applies a reference control and proportional-integral (PI) control for the obstacle avoidance function. Various computer simulations are performed to verify the effectiveness of the proposed method. Tresna Dewi, Naoki Uchiyama, Shigenori Sano, and Hiroki Takahashi Copyright © 2014 Tresna Dewi et al. All rights reserved. Development of Assistive Robots Using International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health: Concept, Applications, and Issues Thu, 19 Dec 2013 11:26:12 +0000 Many assistive robots for elderly and disabled people have been developed in the past few decades. However, very few of them became commercially available. The major cause of the problem is that the cost-benefit ratio and the risk-benefit ratio of them are not good or not known. The evaluation of them should be done in the light of the impacts of assistive technologies on users’ whole life, both in short-term and long-term. In this paper, we propose a framework of evaluation and design of assistive robots using ICF (International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health). The goal of the framework is the realization of the life design and the improvement of the quality of life using assistive technologies. We describe the concept of utilizing ICF in the development process of assistive robots, and demonstrate its utility by using some examples of practical application such as the analysis of daily living, the design of assistive robots and the evaluation of assistive robots. We also show the issues of using ICF for further development of the framework. Hideyuki Tanaka, Masahiro Yoshikawa, Eimei Oyama, Yujin Wakita, and Yoshio Matsumoto Copyright © 2013 Hideyuki Tanaka et al. All rights reserved.