Excellence in Research and Innovation for Humanity

International Science Index

Commenced in January 1999 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Paper Count: 30

Umbrella Wheel: A Stair-Climbing and Obstacle-Handling Wheel Design Concept
This paper presents a design for stair-climbing using a wheel that can split into segments and walk up stairs or surmount other obstacles often found where humans traverse, while still being able to retain a perfectly round shape for traveling on smooth ground. Using this change of configuration, staircases with a wide range of dimensions can be covered efficiently and safely. The design, named Umbrella Wheel, can consist of as many wheel segments as desired, and as few as two. A smaller or higher number of wheel segments has advantages and disadvantages depending on the specific situation. Modeling the trajectory of the wheel when as it ascends or descends stairs is given and the results are analyzed.
MAGNI Dynamics: A Vision-Based Kinematic and Dynamic Upper-Limb Model for Intelligent Robotic Rehabilitation
This paper presents a home-based robot-rehabilitation instrument, called ”MAGNI Dynamics”, that utilized a vision-based kinematic/dynamic module and an adaptive haptic feedback controller. The system is expected to provide personalized rehabilitation by adjusting its resistive and supportive behavior according to a fuzzy intelligence controller that acts as an inference system, which correlates the user’s performance to different stiffness factors. The vision module uses the Kinect’s skeletal tracking to monitor the user’s effort in an unobtrusive and safe way, by estimating the torque that affects the user’s arm. The system’s torque estimations are justified by capturing electromyographic data from primitive hand motions (Shoulder Abduction and Shoulder Forward Flexion). Moreover, we present and analyze how the Barrett WAM generates a force-field with a haptic controller to support or challenge the users. Experiments show that by shifting the proportional value, that corresponds to different stiffness factors of the haptic path, can potentially help the user to improve his/her motor skills. Finally, potential areas for future research are discussed, that address how a rehabilitation robotic framework may include multisensing data, to improve the user’s recovery process.
Control Strategies for a Robot for Interaction with Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Socially assistive robotic has become increasingly active and it is present in therapies of people affected for several neurobehavioral conditions, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). In fact, robots have played a significant role for positive interaction with children with ASD, by stimulating their social and cognitive skills. This work introduces a mobile socially-assistive robot, which was built for interaction with children with ASD, using non-linear control techniques for this interaction.

Modeling and Control of a 4DoF Robotic Assistive Device for Hand Rehabilitation
For those who have lost the ability to move their hand, going through repetitious motions with the assistance of a therapist is the main method of recovery. We have been developed a robotic assistive device to rehabilitate the hand motions in place of the traditional therapy. The developed assistive device (RAD-HR) is comprised of four degrees of freedom enabling basic movements, hand function, and assists in supporting the hand during rehabilitation. We used a nonlinear computed torque control technique to control the RAD-HR. The accuracy of the controller was evaluated in simulations (MATLAB/Simulink environment). To see the robustness of the controller external disturbance as modelling uncertainty (±10% of joint torques) were added in each joints.
Energy Efficient Autonomous Lower Limb Exoskeleton for Human Motion Enhancement

The paper describes conceptual design, control strategies, and partial simulation for a new fully autonomous lower limb wearable exoskeleton system for human motion enhancement that can support its weight and increase strength and endurance. Various problems still remain to be solved where the most important is the creation of a power and cost efficient system that will allow an exoskeleton to operate for extended period without batteries being frequently recharged. The designed exoskeleton is enabling to decouple the weight/mass carrying function of the system from the forward motion function which reduces the power and size of propulsion motors and thus the overall weight, cost of the system. The decoupling takes place by blocking the motion at knee joint by placing passive air cylinder across the joint. The cylinder is actuated when the knee angle has reached the minimum allowed value to bend. The value of the minimum bending angle depends on usual walk style of the subject. The mechanism of the exoskeleton features a seat to rest the subject’s body weight at the moment of blocking the knee joint motion. The mechanical structure of each leg has six degrees of freedom: four at the hip, one at the knee, and one at the ankle. Exoskeleton legs are attached to subject legs by using flexible cuffs. The operation of all actuators depends on the amount of pressure felt by the feet pressure sensors and knee angle sensor. The sensor readings depend on actual posture of the subject and can be classified in three distinct cases: subject stands on one leg, subject stands still on both legs and subject stands on both legs but transit its weight from one leg to other. This exoskeleton is power efficient because electrical motors are smaller in size and did not participate in supporting the weight like in all other existing exoskeleton designs.

From Research to Teaching: Integrating Social Robotics in Engineering Degrees
When industrial robotics subject is taught in a degree in robotics, social and humanoid robotics concepts are rarely mentioned because this field of robotics is not used in industry. In this paper, an educational project related with industrial robotics is presented which includes social and humanoid robotics. The main motivations to realize this research are: i) humanoid robotics will be appearing soon in industry, the experience, based on research projects, indicates their deployment sooner than expected; ii) its educational interest, technology is shared with industrial robotics; iii) it is very attractive, students are interested in this part of the subject and thus they are interested in the whole subject. As a pedagogical methodology, the use of the problem-based learning is considered. Those concepts are introduced in a seminar during the last part of the subject and developed as a set of practices in the laboratory.
A Method to Compute Efficient 3D Helicopters Flight Trajectories Based on a Motion Polymorph-Primitives Algorithm
Finding the optimal 3D path of an aerial vehicle under flight mechanics constraints is a major challenge, especially when the algorithm has to produce real time results in flight. Kinematics models and Pythagorian Hodograph curves have been widely used in mobile robotics to solve this problematic. The level of difficulty is mainly driven by the number of constraints to be saturated at the same time while minimizing the total length of the path. In this paper, we suggest a pragmatic algorithm capable of saturating at the same time most of dimensioning helicopter 3D trajectories’ constraints like: curvature, curvature derivative, torsion, torsion derivative, climb angle, climb angle derivative, positions. The trajectories generation algorithm is able to generate versatile complex 3D motion primitives feasible by a helicopter with parameterization of the curvature and the climb angle. An upper ”motion primitives’ concatenation” algorithm is presented based. In this article we introduce a new way of designing three-dimensional trajectories based on what we call the ”Dubins gliding symmetry conjecture”. This extremely performing algorithm will be soon integrated to a real-time decisional system dealing with inflight safety issues.
Motion Capture Based Wizard of Oz Technique for Humanoid Robot

The paper focus on robotic telepresence system build around humanoid robot operated with controller-less Wizard of Oz technique. Proposed solution gives possibility to quick start acting as a operator with short, if any, initial training.

Robotic Arm Allowing a Diabetic Quadriplegic Patient to Self-Administer Insulin

A method which allows a diabetic quadriplegic patient that has had four limb amputations (above the knee and elbow) to self-administer injections of insulin has been designed. The aim of this research project is to improve a quadriplegic patient’s selfmanagement, affected by diabetes, by designing a suitable device for self-administering insulin. The quadriplegic patient affected by diabetes has to be able to selfadminister insulin safely and independently to guarantee stable healthy conditions. The device also should be designed to adapt to a number of different varying personal characteristics such as height and body weight.

How to Integrate Sustainability in Technological Degrees: Robotics at UPC

Embedding Sustainability in technological curricula has become a crucial factor for educating engineers with competences in sustainability. The Technical University of Catalonia UPC, in 2008, designed the Sustainable Technology Excellence Program STEP 2015 in order to assure a successful Sustainability Embedding. This Program takes advantage of the opportunity that the redesign of all Bachelor and Master Degrees in Spain by 2010 under the European Higher Education Area framework offered. The STEP program goals are: to design compulsory courses in each degree; to develop the conceptual base and identify reference models in sustainability for all specialties at UPC; to create an internal interdisciplinary network of faculty from all the schools; to initiate new transdisciplinary research activities in technology-sustainability-education; to spread the know/how attained; to achieve international scientific excellence in technology-sustainability-education and to graduate the first engineers/architects of the new EHEA bachelors with sustainability as a generic competence. Specifically, in this paper authors explain their experience in leading the STEP program, and two examples are presented: Industrial Robotics subject and the curriculum for the School of Architecture.

2D-Modeling with Lego Mindstorms

The whole work is based on possibility to use Lego Mindstorms robotics systems to reduce costs. Lego Mindstorms consists of a wide variety of hardware components necessary to simulate, programme and test of robotics systems in practice. To programme algorithm, which simulates space using the ultrasonic sensor, was used development environment supplied with kit. Software Matlab was used to render values afterwards they were measured by ultrasonic sensor. The algorithm created for this paper uses theoretical knowledge from area of signal processing. Data being processed by algorithm are collected by ultrasonic sensor that scans 2D space in front of it. Ultrasonic sensor is placed on moving arm of robot which provides horizontal moving of sensor. Vertical movement of sensor is provided by wheel drive. The robot follows map in order to get correct positioning of measured data. Based on discovered facts it is possible to consider Lego Mindstorm for low-cost and capable kit for real-time modelling.

Lego Mindstorms as a Simulation of Robotic Systems

In this paper we deal with using Lego Mindstorms in simulation of robotic systems with respect to cost reduction. Lego Mindstorms kit contains broad variety of hardware components which are required to simulate, program and test the robotics systems in practice. Algorithm programming went in development environment supplied together with Lego kit as in programming language C# as well. Algorithm following the line, which we dealt with in this paper, uses theoretical findings from area of controlling circuits. PID controller has been chosen as controlling circuit whose individual components were experimentally adjusted for optimal motion of robot tracking the line. Data which are determined to process by algorithm are collected by sensors which scan the interface between black and white surfaces followed by robot. Based on discovered facts Lego Mindstorms can be considered for low-cost and capable kit to simulate real robotics systems.

Control of an Asymmetrical Design of a Pneumatically Actuated Ambidextrous Robot Hand

The Ambidextrous Robot Hand is a robotic device with the purpose to mimic either the gestures of a right or a left hand. The symmetrical behavior of its fingers allows them to bend in one way or another keeping a compliant and anthropomorphic shape. However, in addition to gestures they can reproduce on both sides, an asymmetrical mechanical design with a three tendons routing has been engineered to reduce the number of actuators. As a consequence, control algorithms must be adapted to drive efficiently the ambidextrous fingers from one position to another and to include grasping features. These movements are controlled by pneumatic muscles, which are nonlinear actuators. As their elasticity constantly varies when they are under actuation, the length of pneumatic muscles and the force they provide may differ for a same value of pressurized air. The control algorithms introduced in this paper take both the fingers asymmetrical design and the pneumatic muscles nonlinearity into account to permit an accurate control of the Ambidextrous Robot Hand. The finger motion is achieved by combining a classic PID controller with a phase plane switching control that turns the gain constants into dynamic values. The grasping ability is made possible because of a sliding mode control that makes the fingers adapt to the shape of an object before strengthening their positions.

Design and Development of 5-DOF Color Sorting Manipulator for Industrial Applications

Image processing in today’s world grabs massive attentions as it leads to possibilities of broaden application in many fields of high technology. The real challenge is how to improve existing sorting system applications which consists of two integrated stations of processing and handling with a new image processing feature. Existing color sorting techniques use a set of inductive, capacitive, and optical sensors to differentiate object color. This research presents a mechatronic color sorting system solution with the application of image processing. A 5-DOF robot arm is designed and developed with pick and place operation to act as the main part of the color sorting system. Image processing procedure senses the circular objects in an image captured in real time by a webcam fixed at the end-effector then extracts color and position information out of it. This information is passed as a sequence of sorting commands to the manipulator that has pick-and-place mechanism. Performance analysis proves that this color based object sorting system works accurately under ideal condition in term of adequate illumination, circular objects shape and color. The circular objects tested for sorting are red, green and blue. For non-ideal condition, such as unspecified color the accuracy reduces to 80%.

Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Dynamics Modeling and Performance Evaluation

A sophisticated simulator provides a cost-effective measure to carry out preliminary mission testing and diagnostic while reducing potential failures for real life at sea trials. The presented simulation framework covers three key areas: AUV modeling, sensor modeling, and environment modeling. AUV modeling mainly covers the area of AUV dynamics. Sensor modeling deals with physics and mathematical models that govern each sensor installed onto the AUV. Environment model incorporates the hydrostatic, hydrodynamics, and ocean currents that will affect the AUV in a real-time mission. Based on this designed simulation framework, custom scenarios provided by the user can be modeled and its corresponding behaviors can be observed. This paper focuses on the accuracy of the simulated data from AUV model and environmental model derived from a developed AUV test-bed which was jointly upgraded by DSTO and the University of Adelaide. The main contribution of this paper is to experimentally verify the accuracy of the proposed simulation framework.

Kinematic and Dynamic Analysis of a Lower Limb Exoskeleton
This paper will provide the kinematic and dynamic analysis of a lower limb exoskeleton. The forward and inverse kinematics of proposed exoskeleton is performed using Denevit and Hartenberg method. The torques required for the actuators will be calculated using Lagrangian formulation technique. This research can be used to design the control of the proposed exoskeleton.
Novel Mobile Climbing Robot Agent for Offshore Platforms
To improve HSE standards, oil and gas industries are interested in using remotely controlled and autonomous robots instead of human workers on offshore platforms. In addition to earlier reason this strategy would increase potential revenue, efficient usage of work experts and even would allow operations in more remote areas. This article is the presentation of a custom climbing robot, called Walloid, designed for offshore platform topside automation. This 4 arms climbing robot with grippers is an ongoing project at University of Oslo.
Robotics, Education and Economy
Describes the current situation of educational Robotics "the State of the art" its concept, its evolution their niches of opportunity, academic and business and the importance of education and academic outreach. It shows that the development of high-tech automated educational materials influence the teaching-learning process and that communication between machines and humans is a reality.
Educational Robotics Constructivism and Modeling of Robots using Reverse Engineering
The project describes the modeling of various architectures mechatronics specifically morphologies of robots in an educational environment. Each structure developed by students of pre-school, primary and secondary was created using the concept of reverse engineering in a constructivist environment, to later be integrated in educational software that promotes the teaching of educational Robotics in a virtual and economic environment.
A Systematic Approach for Design a Low-Cost Mobility Assistive Device for Elderly People
Walking and sit to stand are activities carried out by all the people many times during the day, but physical disabilities due to age and diseases create needs of assistive devices to help elderly people during their daily life. This study aims to study the different types and mechanisms of the assistive devices. We will analyze the limitations and the challenges faced by the researchers in this field. We will introduce the Assistive Device developed at the Egypt-Japan University of Science and Technology, named E-JUST Assistive Device (EJAD). EJAD will be a low cost intelligent assistive device to help elders in walking and sit-to-stand activities.
A Simulator for Robot Navigation Algorithms
A robot simulator was developed to measure and investigate the performance of a robot navigation system based on the relative position of the robot with respect to random obstacles in any two dimensional environment. The presented simulator focuses on investigating the ability of a fuzzy-neural system for object avoidance. A navigation algorithm is proposed and used to allow random navigation of a robot among obstacles when the robot faces an obstacle in the environment. The main features of this simulator can be used for evaluating the performance of any system that can provide the position of the robot with respect to obstacles in the environment. This allows a robot developer to investigate and analyze the performance of a robot without implementing the physical robot.
Acquiring Contour Following Behaviour in Robotics through Q-Learning and Image-based States
In this work a visual and reactive contour following behaviour is learned by reinforcement. With artificial vision the environment is perceived in 3D, and it is possible to avoid obstacles that are invisible to other sensors that are more common in mobile robotics. Reinforcement learning reduces the need for intervention in behaviour design, and simplifies its adjustment to the environment, the robot and the task. In order to facilitate its generalisation to other behaviours and to reduce the role of the designer, we propose a regular image-based codification of states. Even though this is much more difficult, our implementation converges and is robust. Results are presented with a Pioneer 2 AT on a Gazebo 3D simulator.
Route Training in Mobile Robotics through System Identification
Fundamental sensor-motor couplings form the backbone of most mobile robot control tasks, and often need to be implemented fast, efficiently and nevertheless reliably. Machine learning techniques are therefore often used to obtain the desired sensor-motor competences. In this paper we present an alternative to established machine learning methods such as artificial neural networks, that is very fast, easy to implement, and has the distinct advantage that it generates transparent, analysable sensor-motor couplings: system identification through nonlinear polynomial mapping. This work, which is part of the RobotMODIC project at the universities of Essex and Sheffield, aims to develop a theoretical understanding of the interaction between the robot and its environment. One of the purposes of this research is to enable the principled design of robot control programs. As a first step towards this aim we model the behaviour of the robot, as this emerges from its interaction with the environment, with the NARMAX modelling method (Nonlinear, Auto-Regressive, Moving Average models with eXogenous inputs). This method produces explicit polynomial functions that can be subsequently analysed using established mathematical methods. In this paper we demonstrate the fidelity of the obtained NARMAX models in the challenging task of robot route learning; we present a set of experiments in which a Magellan Pro mobile robot was taught to follow four different routes, always using the same mechanism to obtain the required control law.
Neural Adaptive Switching Control of Robotic Systems
In this paper a neural adaptive control method has been developed and applied to robot control. Simulation results are presented to verify the effectiveness of the controller. These results show that the performance by using this controller is better than those which just use either direct inverse control or predictive control. In addition, they show that the resulting is a useful method which combines the advantages of both direct inverse control and predictive control.
Bio-mechanical Analysis of Human Joints and Extension of the Study to Robot

In this paper, the bio-mechanical analysis of human joints is carried out and the study is extended to the robot manipulator. This study will first focus on the kinematics of human arm which include the movement of each joint in shoulder, wrist, elbow and finger complexes. Those analyses are then extended to the design of a human robot manipulator. A simulator is built for Direct Kinematics and Inverse Kinematics of human arm. In the simulation of Direct Kinematics, the human joint angles can be inserted, while the position and orientation of each finger tips (end-effector) are shown. Inverse Kinematics does the reverse of the Direct Kinematics. Based on previous materials obtained from kinematics analysis, the human manipulator joints can be designed to follow prescribed position trajectories.

Vision Based Robotic Interception in Industrial Manipulation Tasks
In this paper, a solution is presented for a robotic manipulation problem in industrial settings. The problem is sensing objects on a conveyor belt, identifying the target, planning and tracking an interception trajectory between end effector and the target. Such a problem could be formulated as combining object recognition, tracking and interception. For this purpose, we integrated a vision system to the manipulation system and employed tracking algorithms. The control approach is implemented on a real industrial manipulation setting, which consists of a conveyor belt, objects moving on it, a robotic manipulator, and a visual sensor above the conveyor. The trjectory for robotic interception at a rendezvous point on the conveyor belt is analytically calculated. Test results show that tracking the raget along this trajectory results in interception and grabbing of the target object.
Speech Activated Automation

This article presents a simple way to perform programmed voice commands for the interface with commercial Digital and Analogue Input/Output PCI cards, used in Robotics and Automation applications. Robots and Automation equipment can "listen" to voice commands and perform several different tasks, approaching to the human behavior, and improving the human- machine interfaces for the Automation Industry. Since most PCI Digital and Analogue Input/Output cards are sold with several DLLs included (for use with different programming languages), it is possible to add speech recognition capability, using a standard speech recognition engine, compatible with the programming languages used. It was created in this work a Visual Basic 6 (the world's most popular language) application, that listens to several voice commands, and is capable to communicate directly with several standard 128 Digital I/O PCI Cards, used to control complete Automation Systems, with up to (number of boards used) x 128 Sensors and/or Actuators.

Visual Object Tracking and Interception in Industrial Settings
This paper presents a solution for a robotic manipulation problem. We formulate the problem as combining target identification, tracking and interception. The task in our solution is sensing a target on a conveyor belt and then intercepting robot-s end-effector at a convenient rendezvous point. We used an object recognition method which identifies the target and finds its position from visualized scene picture, then the robot system generates a solution for rendezvous problem using the target-s initial position and belt velocity . The interception of the target and the end-effector is executed at a convenient rendezvous point along the target-s calculated trajectory. Experimental results are obtained using a real platform with an industrial robot and a vision system over it.
Robot Task-Level Programming Language and Simulation
This paper presents the development of a software application for Off-line robot task programming and simulation. Such application is designed to assist in robot task planning and to direct manipulator motion on sensor based programmed motion. The concept of the designed programming application is to use the power of the knowledge base for task accumulation. In support of the programming means, an interactive graphical simulation for manipulator kinematics was also developed and integrated into the application as the complimentary factor to the robot programming media. The simulation provides the designer with useful, inexpensive, off-line tools for retain and testing robotics work cells and automated assembly lines for various industrial applications.
Robot Cell Planning

A new approach to determine the machine layout in flexible manufacturing cell, and to find the feasible robot configuration of the robot to achieve minimum cycle time is presented in this paper. The location of the input/output location and the optimal robot configuration is obtained for all sequences of work tasks of the robot within a specified period of time. A more realistic approach has been presented to model the problem using the robot joint space. The problem is formulated as a nonlinear optimization problem and solved using Sequential Quadratic Programming algorithm.

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