I am pleased to report that a paperback version my book Introduction to Theoretical Kinematics: the mathematics of movement is on-line with Amazon.com. I have updated it to reflect current terminology in Robotics and to correct all of the errors that I could identify. Please select the link Introduction to Theoretical Kinematics.
On May 8, 2018, I was pleased to give a seminar at the University of Pennsylvania GRASPLab: McCarthy Seminar.
They also videotaped my lecture. Here it is:
I found this excerpt of the TEDx talk by Bruno Siciliano describing the growing research area of Roboethics to be fascinating and important. Prof. Siciliano is the Director of the ICAROS Center at the Universita degli Studi di Napoli Federico II. He is co-editor with Oussama Khatib of the first and second editions of the Springer Handbook of Robotics. The entire talk is available at the link Robotics and Napoli.
The 2016 Mechanisms and Robotics conference is part of International Design Engineering Technical Conferences organized by ASME International in Charlotte, North Caroline, August 22-24.
For some reason, ASME has broken these links to the 2016 IDETC conference, but you can find out more about each of the symposia at the conference overview link: 2016 ASME Mechanism and Robotics Conference Overview. Then select the Expand all Symposia Link to see the sessions and a list of papers.
A research team including Profs. GimSong Soh, Kristin Wood and Kevin Otto at Robotics Innovation Lab at the Singapore University of Technology and Design has developed a rolling robot about the size of a baseball. The design and motion planning of this robot, Virgo 2.0, was presented at the Mechanisms and Robotics Conference which was part of the 2015 ASME Design Engineering Technical Conferences, August 2-5, in Boston, MA. A demonstration of the Virgo 2.0 moving through a figure eight path around obstacles is shown in the video below.
Students of Prof. Clement Gosselin at the Laval University Robotics Laboratory demonstrate a four-degree of freedom planar robot. I particularly like the demonstration of its use as a gripper that does a cartwheel just for fun.
Students in Professor Alice Agogino’s Berkeley Emergent Space Technologies Laboratory, the BEST Lab, working on motion planning for their tensegrity robot.
This is the participant patch for the 2015 Energy Invitational on May 24, 2015 on UCI’s Campus.
This is the participant patch for the 2015 Rescue Robotics Challenge on May 31, 2015
An outcome of Mark Plecnik’s research on the kinematic synthesis of six-bar linkages is a variety of designs for the leg mechanisms of small walking machines.
We hope to build this walker over the summer. It has one drive motor on each side:
This is my favorite because it couples the legs on one side with a pantograph linkage. The leg joints are living hinges. and it seems this the entire leg system can be cut from a single sheet of plastic:
This is a design study for a walker with eight legs on one side, 16 total:
The ATHLETE Rover is a mixture of a wheeled rover and a walking robot, or better a walking truck, created by engineers at Jet Propulsion Laboratory to be used for manned and unmanned missions to the moon. ATHLETE, which stands for All-Terrain Hex-Limbed Extra-Terrestrial Explorer, is a six-legged walker that is taller than a person. The walker also rolls since it has powered wheels at the end of each limb. This allows the ATHLETE great mobility over changing terrain.
An innovation that comes from the leg-wheel combo is the Sliding Gait, which is a mode of transport more efficient than walking that can be used over loose or steep terrain where driving is impossible. Sliding Gait uses some of the articulated legs as anchors while others do the walking or sliding, like skating. This allows for quicker more responsive movement of the robot. The ATHLETE is to be remote controlled from earth or by astronauts on the moon, so the many different ways the machine can travel give more options to a remote user to navigate tricky terrain.
Motion planning is critical to the operation of ATHLETE because it is both a walker, a rover and something in between, so it takes some work to plan out each step. Footfall is the software that assists the remote driver in planning each step. It uses “telemetry from the robot, such as joint angles and stereo camera image pairs, and generates 3D terrain map,” computes a sequence of movement commands and presents an animated preview to the driver. Footfall makes it possible for this big robot to really move.
“FootFall: A Ground Based Operations Toolset Enabling Walking for the ATHLETE Rover,” by Vytas SunSpiral, Daniel Chavez-Clemente, Michael Broxton, Leslie Keely, Patrick Mihelich, David Mittman, and Curtis Collins.
“Sliding Gait for Athlete Mobility,” NASA Techbrief, This work was done by Julie A. Townsend, Curtis L. Collins, and Jeffrey J. Biesiadecki of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Read more about the ATHLETE Rover at JPL’s Website