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Robotics, IEEE Transactions on

Issue 2 • Date April 2012

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  • Table of contents

    Publication Year: 2012 , Page(s): C1
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  • IEEE Transactions on Robotics publication information

    Publication Year: 2012 , Page(s): C2
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  • Modeling, Identification, and Control of Tendon-Based Actuation Systems

    Publication Year: 2012 , Page(s): 277 - 290
    Cited by:  Papers (14)
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (1847 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    In this paper, we deal with several aspects related to the control of tendon-based actuation systems for robotic devices. In particular, the problems that are considered in this paper are related to the modeling, identification, and control of tendons sliding on curved pathways, subject to friction and viscoelastic effects. Tendons made in polymeric materials are considered, and therefore, hysteresis in the transmission system characteristic must be taken into account as an additional nonlinear effect because of the plasticity and creep phenomena typical of these materials. With the aim of reproducing these behaviors, a viscoelastic model is used to model the tendon compliance. Particular attention has been given to the friction effects arising from the interaction between the tendon pathway and the tendon itself. This phenomenon has been characterized by means of a LuGre-like dynamic friction model to consider the effects that cannot be reproduced by employing a static friction model. A specific setup able to measure the tendon's tension in different points along its path has been designed in order to verify the tension distribution and identify the proper parameters. Finally, a simple control strategy for the compensation of these nonlinear effects and the control of the force that is applied by the tendon to the load is proposed and experimentally verified. View full abstract»

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  • Kinematics-Based Detection and Localization of Contacts Along Multisegment Continuum Robots

    Publication Year: 2012 , Page(s): 291 - 302
    Cited by:  Papers (10)
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    In this paper, we present a novel kinematic-based framework for collision detection and estimation of contact location along multisegment continuum robots. Screw theory is used to define a screw motion deviation (SMD) as the distance between the expected and the actual instantaneous screw axis (ISA) of motion. The expected ISA is computed based on the unconstrained kinematics model of the robot, while the actual ISA is computed based on sensory information. Collisions with rigid environments at any point along the robot are detected by monitoring the SMD. Contact locations are estimated by the minimization of the SMD between the ISA that is obtained from a constrained kinematic model of the continuum robot and the one that is obtained from sensor data. The proposed contact detection and localization methods only require the relative motion of each continuum segment with respect to its own base. This strategy allows the straightforward generalization of these algorithms for an n -segment continuum robot. The framework is evaluated via simulations and experimentally on a three-segment multibackbone continuum robot. Results show that the collision-detection algorithm is capable of detecting a single collision at any segment, multiple collisions occurring at multiple segments, and total-arm constraint. It is also shown that the estimation of contact location is possible at any location along the continuum robot with an accuracy better than 20% of the segment nominal length. We believe this study will enhance manipulation safety in unstructured environments and confined spaces. View full abstract»

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  • Macrocontinuous Dynamics for Hyperredundant Robots: Application to Kinematic Locomotion Bioinspired by Elongated Body Animals

    Publication Year: 2012 , Page(s): 303 - 317
    Cited by:  Papers (4)
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (751 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    In this paper, we present a unified dynamic modeling approach of (elongated body) continuum robots. The robot is modeled as a geometrically exact beam continuously actuated through an active strain law. Once included in the geometric mechanics of locomotion, the approach applies to any hyperredundant or continuous robot that is devoted to manipulation and/or locomotion. Furthermore, by the exploitation of the nature of the resulting model of being a continuous version of the Newton-Euler model of discrete robots, an algorithm is proposed that is capable of computing the internal control torques (and/or forces), as well as the rigid net motions of the robot. In general, this algorithm requires a model of the external forces (responsible for the self-propulsion), but we will see how such a model can be replaced by a kinematic model of a combination of contacts that are related to terrestrial locomotion. Finally, in this case, which we name “kinematic locomotion,” the algorithm is illustrated through many examples directly related to elongated body animals, such as snakes, worms, or caterpillars, and their associated biomimetic artifacts. View full abstract»

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  • Control of Yaw and Pitch Maneuvers of a Multilink Dolphin Robot

    Publication Year: 2012 , Page(s): 318 - 329
    Cited by:  Papers (1)
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    This paper is devoted to the active turn control of a free-swimming multilink dolphin-like robot, with emphasis on yaw and pitch controls. With full consideration of both mechanical configuration and propulsive principle of the robot consisting of a yaw joint and multiple pitch joints, a viable approach to perform yaw maneuvers via laterally directed biases is formed, providing an advantage in qualitative and quantitative assessment. Meanwhile, based on the feedback of the pitch angle measured by an onboard gyroscope, a closed-loop control strategy in dorsoventral motions is proposed to achieve agile and swift pitch maneuvers. More remarkably, two hybrid acrobatic stunts, i.e., frontflip and backflip, are first implemented on the physical robot. The latest results obtained demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed methods. It is also confirmed that the dolphin robot achieves better performance for pitch maneuvers than it does for yaw maneuvers, agreeing well with the biological observations. View full abstract»

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  • A Varied Weights Method for the Kinematic Control of Redundant Manipulators With Multiple Constraints

    Publication Year: 2012 , Page(s): 330 - 340
    Cited by:  Papers (3)
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (536 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    A varied weights (VW) method is proposed in this paper for the kinematic control of redundant manipulators with multiple constraints. A weight factor rule to reflect the transition of the state of constraint subtask between activeness and inactiveness is presented. Each constraint has a VW factor in such a way that every time only the main task and the active constraint subtasks are considered. A new concept of effective singular value is presented for the design of damping factors to avoid the pseudosingularity arising from the transition of weight factors. The experiments on the seven-degree-of-freedom (7-DOF) Ping-Pong manipulator illustrate the efficacy of the proposed VW method. View full abstract»

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  • A Positive Pressure Universal Gripper Based on the Jamming of Granular Material

    Publication Year: 2012 , Page(s): 341 - 350
    Cited by:  Papers (17)
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (4152 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    We describe a simple passive universal gripper, consisting of a mass of granular material encased in an elastic membrane. Using a combination of positive and negative pressure, the gripper can rapidly grip and release a wide range of objects that are typically challenging for universal grippers, such as flat objects, soft objects, or objects with complex geometries. The gripper passively conforms to the shape of a target object, then vacuum-hardens to grip it rigidly, later utilizing positive pressure to reverse this transition-releasing the object and returning to a deformable state. We describe the mechanical design and implementation of this gripper and quantify its performance in real-world testing situations. By using both positive and negative pressure, we demonstrate performance increases of up to 85% in reliability, 25% in error tolerance, and the added capability to shoot objects by fast ejection. In addition, multiple objects are gripped and placed at once while maintaining their relative distance and orientation. We conclude by comparing the performance of the proposed gripper with others in the field. View full abstract»

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  • Minimum-Time Optimal Control of Many Robots that Move in the Same Direction at Different Speeds

    Publication Year: 2012 , Page(s): 351 - 363
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    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (472 KB)  

    In this paper, we solve the minimum-time optimal control problem for a group of robots that can move at different speeds but that must all move in the same direction. We are motivated to solve this problem because constraints of this sort are common in micro-scale and nano-scale robotic systems. By application of the minimum principle, we obtain necessary conditions for optimality and use them to guess a candidate control policy. By showing that the corresponding value function is a viscosity solution to the Hamilton-Jacobi-Bellman equation, we verify that our guess is optimal. The complexity of finding this policy for arbitrary initial conditions is only quasilinear in the number of robots, and in fact is dominated by the computation of a planar convex hull. We extend this result to consider obstacle avoidance by explicit parameterization of all possible optimal control policies, and show examples in simulation. View full abstract»

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  • Discrete Partitioning and Coverage Control for Gossiping Robots

    Publication Year: 2012 , Page(s): 364 - 378
    Cited by:  Papers (4)
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (1119 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    We propose distributed algorithms to automatically deploy a team of mobile robots to partition and provide coverage of a nonconvex environment. To handle arbitrary nonconvex environments, we represent them as graphs. Our partitioning and coverage algorithm requires only short-range, unreliable pairwise “gossip” communication. The algorithm has two components: 1) a motion protocol to ensure that neighboring robots communicate at least sporadically and 2) a pairwise partitioning rule to update territory ownership when two robots communicate. By studying an appropriate dynamical system on the space of partitions of the graph vertices, we prove that territory ownership converges to a pairwise-optimal partition in finite time. This new equilibrium set represents improved performance over common Lloyd-type algorithms. Additionally, our algorithm is an "anytime algorithm'' that also scales well for large teams and can be run by on-board computers with limited resources. Finally, we report on large-scale simulations in complex environments and hardware experiments using the Player/Stage robot control system. View full abstract»

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  • Hierarchical Motion Planning With Dynamical Feasibility Guarantees for Mobile Robotic Vehicles

    Publication Year: 2012 , Page(s): 379 - 395
    Cited by:  Papers (8)
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (1475 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    Motion planning for mobile vehicles involves the solution of two disparate subproblems: the satisfaction of high-level logical task specifications and the design of low-level vehicle control laws. A hierarchical solution of these two subproblems is efficient, but it may not ensure compatibility between the high-level planner and the constraints that are imposed by the vehicle dynamics. To guarantee such compatibility, we propose a motion-planning framework that is based on a special interaction between these two levels of planning. In particular, we solve a special shortest path problem on a graph at a higher level of planning, and we use a lower level planner to determine the costs of the paths in that graph. The overall approach hinges on two novel ingredients: a graph-search algorithm that operates on sequences of vertices and a lower level planner that ensures consistency between the two levels of hierarchy by providing meaningful costs for the edge transitions of a higher level planner using dynamically feasible, collision-free trajectories. View full abstract»

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  • Temporal Logic Motion Planning and Control With Probabilistic Satisfaction Guarantees

    Publication Year: 2012 , Page(s): 396 - 409
    Cited by:  Papers (9)
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (912 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    We describe a computational framework for automatic deployment of a robot with sensor and actuator noise from a temporal logic specification over a set of properties that are satisfied by the regions of a partitioned environment. We model the motion of the robot in the environment as a Markov decision process (MDP) and translate the motion specification to a formula of probabilistic computation tree logic (PCTL). As a result, the robot control problem is mapped to that of generating an MDP control policy from a PCTL formula. We present algorithms for the synthesis of such policies for different classes of PCTL formulas. We illustrate our method with simulation and experimental results. View full abstract»

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  • Persistent Robotic Tasks: Monitoring and Sweeping in Changing Environments

    Publication Year: 2012 , Page(s): 410 - 426
    Cited by:  Papers (28)
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (1171 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    In this paper, we present controllers that enable mobile robots to persistently monitor or sweep a changing environment. The environment is modeled as a field that is defined over a finite set of locations. The field grows linearly at locations that are not within the range of a robot and decreases linearly at locations that are within range of a robot. We assume that the robots travel on given closed paths. The speed of each robot along its path is controlled to prevent the field from growing unbounded at any location. We consider the space of speed controllers that are parametrized by a finite set of basis functions. For a single robot, we develop a linear program that computes a speed controller in this space to keep the field bounded, if such a controller exists. Another linear program is derived to compute the speed controller that minimizes the maximum field value over the environment. We extend our linear program formulation to develop a multirobot controller that keeps the field bounded. We characterize, both theoretically and in simulation, the robustness of the controllers to modeling errors and to stochasticity in the environment. View full abstract»

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  • Fast Humanoid Robot Collision-Free Footstep Planning Using Swept Volume Approximations

    Publication Year: 2012 , Page(s): 427 - 439
    Cited by:  Papers (8)
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (1187 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    In this paper, we propose a novel and coherent framework for fast footstep planning for legged robots on a flat ground with 3-D obstacle avoidance. We use swept volume approximations that are computed offline in order to considerably reduce the time spent in collision checking during the online planning phase, in which a rapidly exploring random tree variant is used to find collision-free sequences of half-steps (which are produced by a specific walking pattern generator). Then, an original homotopy is used to smooth the sequences into natural motions, gently avoiding the obstacles. The results are experimentally validated on the robot HRP-2. View full abstract»

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  • Shadow Information Spaces: Combinatorial Filters for Tracking Targets

    Publication Year: 2012 , Page(s): 440 - 456
    Cited by:  Papers (4)
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (915 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    This paper introduces and solves a problem of maintaining the distribution of hidden targets that move outside the field of view while a sensor sweep is being performed, resulting in a generalization of the sensing aspect of visibility-based pursuit-evasion games. Our solution first applies information space concepts to significantly reduce the general complexity so that information is processed only when the shadow region (all points invisible to the sensors) changes combinatorially or targets pass in and out of the field of view. The cases of distinguishable, partially distinguishable, and completely indistinguishable targets are handled. Depending on whether the targets move nondeterministically or probabilistically, more specific classes of problems are formulated. For each case, efficient filtering algorithms are introduced, implemented, and demonstrated that provide critical information for tasks such as counting, herding, pursuit evasion, and situational awareness. View full abstract»

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  • Automatic Design and Manufacture of Soft Robots

    Publication Year: 2012 , Page(s): 457 - 466
    Cited by:  Papers (52)
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (702 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    We present the automated design and manufacture of static and locomotion objects in which functionality is obtained purely by the unconstrained 3-D distribution of materials. Recent advances in multimaterial fabrication techniques enable continuous shapes to be fabricated with unprecedented fidelity unhindered by spatial constraints and homogeneous materials. We address the challenges of exploitation of the freedom of this vast new design space using evolutionary algorithms. We first show a set of cantilever beams automatically designed to deflect in arbitrary static profiles using hard and soft materials. These beams were automatically fabricated, and their physical performance was confirmed within 0.5-7.6% accuracy. We then demonstrate the automatic design of freeform soft robots for forward locomotion using soft volumetrically expanding actuator materials. One robot was fabricated automatically and assembled, and its performance was confirmed with 15% error. We suggest that this approach to design automation opens the door to leveraging the full potential of the freeform multimaterial design space to generate novel mechanisms and deformable robots. View full abstract»

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  • Two-Dimensional Autonomous Microparticle Manipulation Strategies for Magnetic Microrobots in Fluidic Environments

    Publication Year: 2012 , Page(s): 467 - 477
    Cited by:  Papers (16)
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (825 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    This study develops autonomous manipulation strategies for a mobile untethered microrobot that operates on a 2-D surface in a fluidic environment. The microrobot, which is a permanent magnet, is under m in all dimensions and is actuated by oscillating external magnetic fields. Two types of manipulations are considered: 1) front pushing, where the microrobot pushes a micro-object by direct contact; and 2) side pushing, which can result in noncontact pushing, where the fluid flow fields that are generated by a translating microrobot are used to displace a micro-object. Physical models are provided to estimate the displacement of the micro-object due to the fluid motion. Model-based controllers to perform contact and noncontact manipulation are proposed, which iteratively correct emerging manipulation behaviors to improve performance. It is found that using a model-based solution as a feed-forward input, which is combined with a learning controller, can significantly improve micro-object pushing performance. Finally, we begin to address the problem to assemble two micro-objects together using the microrobot, which is only successful by using a side-pushing method. View full abstract»

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  • New Flexure Parallel-Kinematic Micropositioning System With Large Workspace

    Publication Year: 2012 , Page(s): 478 - 491
    Cited by:  Papers (15)
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (1055 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    Flexure-based micropositioning systems with a large workspace are attractive for a variety of precision engineering applications. In this paper, a new idea of multistage compound parallelogram flexure is proposed for the mechanism design of a novel parallel-kinematic XY micropositioning system, which has a motion range larger than 10 mm along with a compact structure. The established quantitative models and the stage performances are validated by conducting finite-element analysis (FEA) and experimental studies. Moreover, an enhanced model-predictive control (EMPC) is presented for positioning control of the system, which has a nonminimum-phase plant. It is shown that the EMPC is capable of producing a low magnitude of output tracking error by imposing an appropriate suppression on the control effort. Simulation and experimental studies reveal that the EMPC scheme outperforms the conventional proportional-integral-derivative (PID) and MPC methods in terms of transient response speed and steady-state accuracy. The idea that is presented in this paper is extendable to design and control of other micro-/nanopositioning systems with either minimum- or nonminimum-phase plants. View full abstract»

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  • Model for a Sensor Inspired by Electric Fish

    Publication Year: 2012 , Page(s): 492 - 505
    Cited by:  Papers (8)
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (954 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    This paper reports the first results from a program of work aimed at developing a swimming robot equipped with electric sense. After having presented the principles of a bioinspired electric sensor that is now working, we will build the models for electrolocation of objects that are suited to this kind of sensor. The produced models are in a compact analytical form in order to be tractable on the onboard computers of the future robot. These models are tested by comparing them with numerical simulations based on the boundary elements method. The results demonstrate the feasibility of the approach and its compatibility with online objects electrolocation, i.e., another parallel program of ours. View full abstract»

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  • Assembly Mode Changing in the Cuspidal Analytic 3-R \underline {\hbox {P}} R

    Publication Year: 2012 , Page(s): 506 - 513
    Cited by:  Papers (1)
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (617 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    In this paper, the analytic 3-RPR platform studied by Wenger and Chablat in 2009 will be analyzed regarding its cuspidality condition. Many investigations have paid great attention to the cuspidality phenomena that arise for some designs of the 3-RPR parallel manipulator. Nevertheless, most of them focus on obtaining the cusp points of direct kinematic singularity curves on a section of the joint space, meaning that one of the input variables must remain constant. The authors, in this paper, obtain the locus of cusp points of the manipulator under study in a complete analytic way and in 3-D joint space. This way, the three inputs can be actuated to perform a nonsingular transition that encircles one of the curves that belong to the locus of cusp points. It will be shown that the duplicity of one of the output variables of this manipulator causes the overlapping of two different cusp points in the joint space. In order to visualize this characteristic, initially, transitions in a section of the joint space will be analyzed using, additionally, the reduced configuration space. Then, transitions in the 3-D joint space will be performed, showing that, in order to ensure a feasible nonsingular transition, it is necessary to represent the direct kinematic singularity surface and assess the evolution of the three output variables along the trajectory. View full abstract»

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  • A General User-Oriented Framework for Holonomic Redundancy Resolution in Robotic Manipulators Using Task Augmentation

    Publication Year: 2012 , Page(s): 514 - 521
    Cited by:  Papers (3)
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (679 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    Redundant robotic manipulators under kinematic control may exhibit unpredictable behaviors at the joint level. When the end effector describes a closed trajectory, the joint angles may not return to their initial values. Likewise, final configuration in the joint space may depend on the trajectory that is followed by the end effector. In this paper, a complete parameterization of holonomic redundancy resolution techniques that avoid these problems is proposed. The flexibility of the proposed approach is discussed. In particular, it is shown that the selection of the redundancy resolution criterion is totally decoupled from the implementation of a closed-loop inverse kinematics (CLIK) algorithm. Any user-defined redundancy resolution criterion can, thus, be enforced. Potentialities of this new methodology are experimentally verified on an industrial robot in a case study where functional redundancy occurs and is applied in simulation on a 7-degree-of-freedom (7-DOF) anthropomorphic manipulator. View full abstract»

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  • Graph-Based Observability Analysis of Bearing-Only Cooperative Localization

    Publication Year: 2012 , Page(s): 522 - 529
    Cited by:  Papers (2)
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (348 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    In this paper, we investigate the nonlinear observability properties of bearing-only cooperative localization. We establish a link between observability and a graph that represents measurements and communication between the robots. It is shown that graph theoretic properties like the connectivity and the existence of a path between two nodes can be used to explain the observability of the system. We obtain the maximum rank of the observability matrix without global information and derive conditions under which the maximum rank can be achieved. Furthermore, we show that for complete observability, all of the nodes in the graph must have a path to at least two different landmarks of known location. View full abstract»

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  • The Appearance Variation Cue for Obstacle Avoidance

    Publication Year: 2012 , Page(s): 529 - 534
    Cited by:  Papers (3)
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (425 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    The appearance variation cue captures the variation in texture in a single image. Its use for obstacle avoidance is based on the assumption that there is less such variation when the camera is close to an obstacle. For videos of approaching frontal obstacles, it is demonstrated that combining the cue with optic flow leads to better performance than using either cue alone. In addition, the cue is successfully used to control the 16-g flapping-wing micro air vehicle DelFly II. View full abstract»

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  • A Comparative Evaluation of Control Interfaces for a Robotic-Aided Endoscopic Capsule Platform

    Publication Year: 2012 , Page(s): 534 - 538
    Cited by:  Papers (2)
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (503 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    Wireless capsule endoscopy offers significant advantages compared with traditional endoscopic procedures, since it limits the invasiveness of gastrointestinal tract screening and diagnosis. Moreover, active locomotion devices would allow endoscopy to be performed in a totally controlled manner, avoiding failures in the correct visualization of pathologies. Previous works demonstrated that magnetic locomotion through a robotic-aided platform would allow us to reach this goal reliably. In this paper, the authors present a comparative evaluation of control methodologies and user interfaces for a robotic-aided magnetic platform for capsule endoscopy, controlled through human-robot cooperative and teleoperated control algorithms. A detailed statistical analysis of significant control parameters was performed: teleoperated control is the more reliable control approach, and a serial kinematic haptic device results as the most suitable control interface to perform effective robotic-aided endoscopic procedures. View full abstract»

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  • IEEE copyright form

    Publication Year: 2012 , Page(s): 539 - 540
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    Freely Available from IEEE

Aims & Scope

IEEE Transactions on Robotics covers both theory and applications on topics including: kinematics, dynamics, control, and simulation of robots and intelligent machines and systems.

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Meet Our Editors

Editor-in-Chief
Frank Park
Seoul National University