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2018


Gait learning for soft microrobots controlled by light fields
Gait learning for soft microrobots controlled by light fields

Rohr, A. V., Trimpe, S., Marco, A., Fischer, P., Palagi, S.

In International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) 2018, pages: 6199-6206, International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems 2018, October 2018 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Soft microrobots based on photoresponsive materials and controlled by light fields can generate a variety of different gaits. This inherent flexibility can be exploited to maximize their locomotion performance in a given environment and used to adapt them to changing environments. However, because of the lack of accurate locomotion models, and given the intrinsic variability among microrobots, analytical control design is not possible. Common data-driven approaches, on the other hand, require running prohibitive numbers of experiments and lead to very sample-specific results. Here we propose a probabilistic learning approach for light-controlled soft microrobots based on Bayesian Optimization (BO) and Gaussian Processes (GPs). The proposed approach results in a learning scheme that is highly data-efficient, enabling gait optimization with a limited experimental budget, and robust against differences among microrobot samples. These features are obtained by designing the learning scheme through the comparison of different GP priors and BO settings on a semisynthetic data set. The developed learning scheme is validated in microrobot experiments, resulting in a 115% improvement in a microrobot’s locomotion performance with an experimental budget of only 20 tests. These encouraging results lead the way toward self-adaptive microrobotic systems based on lightcontrolled soft microrobots and probabilistic learning control.

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arXiv IEEE Xplore DOI Project Page [BibTex]

2018


arXiv IEEE Xplore DOI Project Page [BibTex]


Soft Miniaturized Linear Actuators Wirelessly Powered by Rotating Permanent Magnets
Soft Miniaturized Linear Actuators Wirelessly Powered by Rotating Permanent Magnets

Qiu, T., Palagi, S., Sachs, J., Fischer, P.

In 2018 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), pages: 3595-3600, May 2018 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Wireless actuation by magnetic fields allows for the operation of untethered miniaturized devices, e.g. in biomedical applications. Nevertheless, generating large controlled forces over relatively large distances is challenging. Magnetic torques are easier to generate and control, but they are not always suitable for the tasks at hand. Moreover, strong magnetic fields are required to generate a sufficient torque, which are difficult to achieve with electromagnets. Here, we demonstrate a soft miniaturized actuator that transforms an externally applied magnetic torque into a controlled linear force. We report the design, fabrication and characterization of both the actuator and the magnetic field generator. We show that the magnet assembly, which is based on a set of rotating permanent magnets, can generate strong controlled oscillating fields over a relatively large workspace. The actuator, which is 3D-printed, can lift a load of more than 40 times its weight. Finally, we show that the actuator can be further miniaturized, paving the way towards strong, wirelessly powered microactuators.

pf

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Travelling Ultrasonic Wave Enhances Keyclick Sensation

Gueorguiev, D., Kaci, A., Amberg, M., Giraud, F., Lemaire-Semail, B.

In Haptics: Science, Technology, and Applications, pages: 302-312, Springer International Publishing, Cham, 2018 (inproceedings)

Abstract
A realistic keyclick sensation is a serious challenge for haptic feedback since vibrotactile rendering faces the limitation of the absence of contact force as experienced on physical buttons. It has been shown that creating a keyclick sensation is possible with stepwise ultrasonic friction modulation. However, the intensity of the sensation is limited by the impedance of the fingertip and by the absence of a lateral force component external to the finger. In our study, we compare this technique to rendering with an ultrasonic travelling wave, which exerts a lateral force on the fingertip. For both techniques, participants were asked to report the detection (or not) of a keyclick during a forced choice one interval procedure. In experiment 1, participants could press the surface as many time as they wanted for a given trial. In experiment 2, they were constrained to press only once. The results show a lower perceptual threshold for travelling waves. Moreover, participants pressed less times per trial and exerted smaller normal force on the surface. The subjective quality of the sensation was found similar for both techniques. In general, haptic feedback based on travelling ultrasonic waves is promising for applications without lateral motion of the finger.

hi

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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On Time Optimization of Centroidal Momentum Dynamics

Ponton, B., Herzog, A., Del Prete, A., Schaal, S., Righetti, L.

In 2018 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), pages: 5776-5782, IEEE, Brisbane, Australia, 2018 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Recently, the centroidal momentum dynamics has received substantial attention to plan dynamically consistent motions for robots with arms and legs in multi-contact scenarios. However, it is also non convex which renders any optimization approach difficult and timing is usually kept fixed in most trajectory optimization techniques to not introduce additional non convexities to the problem. But this can limit the versatility of the algorithms. In our previous work, we proposed a convex relaxation of the problem that allowed to efficiently compute momentum trajectories and contact forces. However, our approach could not minimize a desired angular momentum objective which seriously limited its applicability. Noticing that the non-convexity introduced by the time variables is of similar nature as the centroidal dynamics one, we propose two convex relaxations to the problem based on trust regions and soft constraints. The resulting approaches can compute time-optimized dynamically consistent trajectories sufficiently fast to make the approach realtime capable. The performance of the algorithm is demonstrated in several multi-contact scenarios for a humanoid robot. In particular, we show that the proposed convex relaxation of the original problem finds solutions that are consistent with the original non-convex problem and illustrate how timing optimization allows to find motion plans that would be difficult to plan with fixed timing † †Implementation details and demos can be found in the source code available at https://git-amd.tuebingen.mpg.de/bponton/timeoptimization.

am mg

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Exploring Fingers’ Limitation of Texture Density Perception on Ultrasonic Haptic Displays

Kalantari, F., Gueorguiev, D., Lank, E., Bremard, N., Grisoni, L.

In Haptics: Science, Technology, and Applications, pages: 354-365, Springer International Publishing, Cham, 2018 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Recent research in haptic feedback is motivated by the crucial role that tactile perception plays in everyday touch interactions. In this paper, we describe psychophysical experiments to investigate the perceptual threshold of individual fingers on both the right and left hand of right-handed participants using active dynamic touch for spatial period discrimination of both sinusoidal and square-wave gratings on ultrasonic haptic touchscreens. Both one-finger and multi-finger touch were studied and compared. Our results indicate that users' finger identity (index finger, middle finger, etc.) significantly affect the perception of both gratings in the case of one-finger exploration. We show that index finger and thumb are the most sensitive in all conditions whereas little finger followed by ring are the least sensitive for haptic perception. For multi-finger exploration, the right hand was found to be more sensitive than the left hand for both gratings. Our findings also demonstrate similar perception sensitivity between multi-finger exploration and the index finger of users' right hands (i.e. dominant hand in our study), while significant difference was found between single and multi-finger perception sensitivity for the left hand.

hi

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Unsupervised Contact Learning for Humanoid Estimation and Control

Rotella, N., Schaal, S., Righetti, L.

In 2018 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), pages: 411-417, IEEE, Brisbane, Australia, 2018 (inproceedings)

Abstract
This work presents a method for contact state estimation using fuzzy clustering to learn contact probability for full, six-dimensional humanoid contacts. The data required for training is solely from proprioceptive sensors - endeffector contact wrench sensors and inertial measurement units (IMUs) - and the method is completely unsupervised. The resulting cluster means are used to efficiently compute the probability of contact in each of the six endeffector degrees of freedom (DoFs) independently. This clustering-based contact probability estimator is validated in a kinematics-based base state estimator in a simulation environment with realistic added sensor noise for locomotion over rough, low-friction terrain on which the robot is subject to foot slip and rotation. The proposed base state estimator which utilizes these six DoF contact probability estimates is shown to perform considerably better than that which determines kinematic contact constraints purely based on measured normal force.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Learning Task-Specific Dynamics to Improve Whole-Body Control

Gams, A., Mason, S., Ude, A., Schaal, S., Righetti, L.

In Hua, IEEE, Beijing, China, November 2018 (inproceedings)

Abstract
In task-based inverse dynamics control, reference accelerations used to follow a desired plan can be broken down into feedforward and feedback trajectories. The feedback term accounts for tracking errors that are caused from inaccurate dynamic models or external disturbances. On underactuated, free-floating robots, such as humanoids, high feedback terms can be used to improve tracking accuracy; however, this can lead to very stiff behavior or poor tracking accuracy due to limited control bandwidth. In this paper, we show how to reduce the required contribution of the feedback controller by incorporating learned task-space reference accelerations. Thus, we i) improve the execution of the given specific task, and ii) offer the means to reduce feedback gains, providing for greater compliance of the system. With a systematic approach we also reduce heuristic tuning of the model parameters and feedback gains, often present in real-world experiments. In contrast to learning task-specific joint-torques, which might produce a similar effect but can lead to poor generalization, our approach directly learns the task-space dynamics of the center of mass of a humanoid robot. Simulated and real-world results on the lower part of the Sarcos Hermes humanoid robot demonstrate the applicability of the approach.

am mg

link (url) [BibTex]

link (url) [BibTex]


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An MPC Walking Framework With External Contact Forces

Mason, S., Rotella, N., Schaal, S., Righetti, L.

In 2018 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), pages: 1785-1790, IEEE, Brisbane, Australia, May 2018 (inproceedings)

Abstract
In this work, we present an extension to a linear Model Predictive Control (MPC) scheme that plans external contact forces for the robot when given multiple contact locations and their corresponding friction cone. To this end, we set up a two-step optimization problem. In the first optimization, we compute the Center of Mass (CoM) trajectory, foot step locations, and introduce slack variables to account for violating the imposed constraints on the Zero Moment Point (ZMP). We then use the slack variables to trigger the second optimization, in which we calculate the optimal external force that compensates for the ZMP tracking error. This optimization considers multiple contacts positions within the environment by formulating the problem as a Mixed Integer Quadratic Program (MIQP) that can be solved at a speed between 100-300 Hz. Once contact is created, the MIQP reduces to a single Quadratic Program (QP) that can be solved in real-time ({\textless}; 1kHz). Simulations show that the presented walking control scheme can withstand disturbances 2-3× larger with the additional force provided by a hand contact.

am mg

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

2016


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Qualitative User Reactions to a Hand-Clapping Humanoid Robot

Fitter, N. T., Kuchenbecker, K. J.

In Social Robotics: 8th International Conference, ICSR 2016, Kansas City, MO, USA, November 1-3, 2016 Proceedings, 9979, pages: 317-327, Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence, Springer International Publishing, November 2016, Oral presentation given by Fitter (inproceedings)

hi

[BibTex]

2016


[BibTex]


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Designing and Assessing Expressive Open-Source Faces for the Baxter Robot

Fitter, N. T., Kuchenbecker, K. J.

In Social Robotics: 8th International Conference, ICSR 2016, Kansas City, MO, USA, November 1-3, 2016 Proceedings, 9979, pages: 340-350, Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence, Springer International Publishing, November 2016, Oral presentation given by Fitter (inproceedings)

hi

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Rhythmic Timing in Playful Human-Robot Social Motor Coordination

Fitter, N. T., Hawkes, D. T., Kuchenbecker, K. J.

In Social Robotics: 8th International Conference, ICSR 2016, Kansas City, MO, USA, November 1-3, 2016 Proceedings, 9979, pages: 296-305, Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence, Springer International Publishing, November 2016, Oral presentation given by Fitter (inproceedings)

hi

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Using IMU Data to Demonstrate Hand-Clapping Games to a Robot

Fitter, N. T., Kuchenbecker, K. J.

In Proceedings of the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, pages: 851 - 856, October 2016, Interactive presentation given by Fitter (inproceedings)

hi

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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ProtonPack: A Visuo-Haptic Data Acquisition System for Robotic Learning of Surface Properties

Burka, A., Hu, S., Helgeson, S., Krishnan, S., Gao, Y., Hendricks, L. A., Darrell, T., Kuchenbecker, K. J.

In Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Multisensor Fusion and Integration for Intelligent Systems (MFI), pages: 58-65, 2016, Oral presentation given by Burka (inproceedings)

hi

Project Page [BibTex]

Project Page [BibTex]


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Equipping the Baxter Robot with Human-Inspired Hand-Clapping Skills

Fitter, N. T., Kuchenbecker, K. J.

In Proceedings of the IEEE International Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (RO-MAN), pages: 105-112, 2016 (inproceedings)

hi

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Comparison of vibro-acoustic performance metrics in the design and optimization of stiffened composite fuselages

Serhat, G., Basdogan, I.

In Proceedings of International Congress and Exposition of Noise Control Engineering (INTER-NOISE), Hamburg, Germany, August 2016 (inproceedings)

Abstract
In this paper, a comparison of preliminary design methodologies for optimization of stiffened, fiber-reinforced composite fuselages for vibro-acoustic requirements is presented. Fuselage stiffness properties are modelled using lamination parameters and their effect on the vibro-acoustic performance is investigated using two different approaches. First method, only considers the structural model in order to explore the effect of design variables on fuselage vibrations. The simplified estimation of the acoustic behavior without considering fluid-structure interaction brings certain advantages such as reduced modelling effort and computational cost. In this case, the performance metric is chosen as equivalent radiated power (ERP) which is a well-known criterion in the prediction of structure-born noise. Second method, utilizes coupled vibro-acoustic models to predict the sound pressure levels (SPL) inside the fuselage. ERP is calculated both for bay panels and fuselage section and then compared with the SPL results. The response surfaces of each metric are determined as a function of lamination parameters and their overall difference is quantified. ERP approach proves its merit provided that a sufficiently accurate model is used. The results demonstrate the importance of the simplifications made in the modelling and the selection of analysis approach in vibro-acoustic design of fuselages.

hi

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


Soft continuous microrobots with multiple intrinsic degrees of freedom
Soft continuous microrobots with multiple intrinsic degrees of freedom

Palagi, S., Mark, A. G., Melde, K., Zeng, H., Parmeggiani, C., Martella, D., Wiersma, D. S., Fischer, P.

In 2016 International Conference on Manipulation, Automation and Robotics at Small Scales (MARSS), pages: 1-5, July 2016 (inproceedings)

Abstract
One of the main challenges in the development of microrobots, i.e. robots at the sub-millimeter scale, is the difficulty of adopting traditional solutions for power, control and, especially, actuation. As a result, most current microrobots are directly manipulated by external fields, and possess only a few passive degrees of freedom (DOFs). We have reported a strategy that enables embodiment, remote powering and control of a large number of DOFs in mobile soft microrobots. These consist of photo-responsive materials, such that the actuation of their soft continuous body can be selectively and dynamically controlled by structured light fields. Here we use finite-element modelling to evaluate the effective number of DOFs that are addressable in our microrobots. We also demonstrate that by this flexible approach different actuation patterns can be obtained, and thus different locomotion performances can be achieved within the very same microrobot. The reported results confirm the versatility of the proposed approach, which allows for easy application-specific optimization and online reconfiguration of the microrobot's behavior. Such versatility will enable advanced applications of robotics and automation at the micro scale.

pf

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Reproducing a Laser Pointer Dot on a Secondary Projected Screen

Hu, S., Kuchenbecker, K. J.

In Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Advanced Intelligent Mechatronics (AIM), pages: 1645-1650, 2016, Oral presentation given by Hu (inproceedings)

hi

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


Wireless actuator based on ultrasonic bubble streaming
Wireless actuator based on ultrasonic bubble streaming

Qiu, T., Palagi, S., Mark, A. G., Melde, K., Fischer, P.

In 2016 International Conference on Manipulation, Automation and Robotics at Small Scales (MARSS), pages: 1-5, July 2016 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Miniaturized actuators are a key element for the manipulation and automation at small scales. Here, we propose a new miniaturized actuator, which consists of an array of micro gas bubbles immersed in a fluid. Under ultrasonic excitation, the oscillation of micro gas bubbles results in acoustic streaming and provides a propulsive force that drives the actuator. The actuator was fabricated by lithography and fluidic streaming was observed under ultrasound excitation. Theoretical modelling and numerical simulations were carried out to show that lowing the surface tension results in a larger amplitude of the bubble oscillation, and thus leads to a higher propulsive force. Experimental results also demonstrate that the propulsive force increases 3.5 times when the surface tension is lowered by adding a surfactant. An actuator with a 4×4 mm 2 surface area provides a driving force of about 0.46 mN, suggesting that it is possible to be used as a wireless actuator for small-scale robots and medical instruments.

pf

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Effect of Aspect Ratio and Boundary Conditions on the Eigenfrequency Optimization of Composite Panels Using Lamination Parameters

Serhat, G., Basdogan, I.

In Proceedings of the ASMO UK International Conference on Numerical Optimisation Methods for Engineering Design, pages: 160–168, Munich, Germany, July 2016 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Eigenfrequency optimization of laminated composite panels is a common engineering problem. This process mostly involves designing stiffness properties of the structure. Optimal results can differ significantly depending on the values of the model parameters and the metrics used for the optimization. Building the know-how on this matter is crucial for choosing the appropriate design methodologies as well as validation and justification of prospective results. In this paper, effects of aspect ratio and boundary conditions on eigenfrequency optimization of composite panels by altering stiffness properties are investigated. Lamination parameters are chosen as design variables which are used in the modeling of stiffness tensors. This technique enables representation of overall stiffness characteristics and provides a convex design space. Fundamental frequency and difference between fundamental and second natural frequencies are maximized as design objectives. Optimization studies incorporating different models and responses are performed. Optimal lamination parameters and response values are provided for each case and the effects of model parameters on the solutions are quantified. The results indicate that trends of the optima change for different aspect ratio ranges and boundary conditions. Moreover, convergence occurs beyond certain critical values of the model parameters which may cause an optimization study to be redundant.

hi

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Multi-objective optimization of stiffened, fiber-reinforced composite fuselages for mechanical and vibro-acoustic requirements

Serhat, G., Faria, T. G., Basdogan, I.

In Proceedings of AIAA/ISSMO Multidisciplinary Analysis and Optimization Conference, Washington, USA, June 2016 (inproceedings)

Abstract
In this paper, a preliminary design methodology for optimization of stiffened, fiber-reinforced composite fuselages for combined mechanical and vibro-acoustic requirements is presented. Laminate stiffness distributions are represented using the method called lamination parameters which is known to provide a convex solution space. Single-objective and multi-objective optimization studies are carried out in order to find optimal stiffness distributions. Performance metrics for acoustical behavior are chosen as maximum fundamental frequency and minimum equivalent radiated power. The mechanical performance metric is chosen as the maximum stiffness. The results show that the presented methodology works effectively and it can be used to improve load-carrying and acoustical performances simultaneously.

hi

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


Auxetic Metamaterial Simplifies Soft Robot Design
Auxetic Metamaterial Simplifies Soft Robot Design

Mark, A. G., Palagi, S., Qiu, T., Fischer, P.

In 2016 IEEE Int. Conf. on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), pages: 4951-4956, May 2016 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Soft materials are being adopted in robotics in order to facilitate biomedical applications and in order to achieve simpler and more capable robots. One route to simplification is to design the robot's body using `smart materials' that carry the burden of control and actuation. Metamaterials enable just such rational design of the material properties. Here we present a soft robot that exploits mechanical metamaterials for the intrinsic synchronization of two passive clutches which contact its travel surface. Doing so allows it to move through an enclosed passage with an inchworm motion propelled by a single actuator. Our soft robot consists of two 3D-printed metamaterials that implement auxetic and normal elastic properties. The design, fabrication and characterization of the metamaterials are described. In addition, a working soft robot is presented. Since the synchronization mechanism is a feature of the robot's material body, we believe that the proposed design will enable compliant and robust implementations that scale well with miniaturization.

pf

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Deep Learning for Tactile Understanding From Visual and Haptic Data

Gao, Y., Hendricks, L. A., Kuchenbecker, K. J., Darrell, T.

In Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, pages: 536-543, May 2016, Oral presentation given by Gao (inproceedings)

hi

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Robust Tactile Perception of Artificial Tumors Using Pairwise Comparisons of Sensor Array Readings

Hui, J. C. T., Block, A. E., Taylor, C. J., Kuchenbecker, K. J.

In Proceedings of the IEEE Haptics Symposium, pages: 305-312, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, April 2016, Oral presentation given by Hui (inproceedings)

hi

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Data-Driven Comparison of Four Cutaneous Displays for Pinching Palpation in Robotic Surgery

Brown, J. D., Ibrahim, M., Chase, E. D. Z., Pacchierotti, C., Kuchenbecker, K. J.

In Proceedings of the IEEE Haptics Symposium, pages: 147-154, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, April 2016, Oral presentation given by Brown (inproceedings)

hi

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


Multisensory Robotic Therapy through Motion Capture and Imitation for Children with ASD
Multisensory Robotic Therapy through Motion Capture and Imitation for Children with ASD

Burns, R., Nizambad, S., Park, C. H., Jeon, M., Howard, A.

Proceedings of the American Society of Engineering Education, Mid-Atlantic Section, Spring Conference, April 2016 (conference)

Abstract
It is known that children with autism have difficulty with emotional communication. As the population of children with autism increases, it is crucial we create effective therapeutic programs that will improve their communication skills. We present an interactive robotic system that delivers emotional and social behaviors for multi­sensory therapy for children with autism spectrum disorders. Our framework includes emotion­-based robotic gestures and facial expressions, as well as tracking and understanding the child’s responses through Kinect motion capture.

hi

link (url) [BibTex]

link (url) [BibTex]


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Design and Implementation of a Visuo-Haptic Data Acquisition System for Robotic Learning of Surface Properties

Burka, A., Hu, S., Helgeson, S., Krishnan, S., Gao, Y., Hendricks, L. A., Darrell, T., Kuchenbecker, K. J.

In Proceedings of the IEEE Haptics Symposium, pages: 350-352, April 2016, Work-in-progress paper. Poster presentation given by Burka (inproceedings)

hi

Project Page [BibTex]

Project Page [BibTex]


Towards Photo-Induced Swimming: Actuation of Liquid Crystalline  Elastomer in Water
Towards Photo-Induced Swimming: Actuation of Liquid Crystalline Elastomer in Water

cerretti, G., Martella, D., Zeng, H., Parmeggiani, C., Palagi, S., Mark, A. G., Melde, K., Qiu, T., Fischer, P., Wiersma, D.

In Proc. of SPIE 9738, pages: Laser 3D Manufacturing III, 97380T, April 2016 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Liquid Crystalline Elastomers (LCEs) are very promising smart materials that can be made sensitive to different external stimuli, such as heat, pH, humidity and light, by changing their chemical composition. In this paper we report the implementation of a nematically aligned LCE actuator able to undergo large light-induced deformations. We prove that this property is still present even when the actuator is submerged in fresh water. Thanks to the presence of azo-dye moieties, capable of going through a reversible trans-cis photo-isomerization, and by applying light with two different wavelengths we managed to control the bending of such actuator in the liquid environment. The reported results represent the first step towards swimming microdevices powered by light.

pf

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


Multisensory robotic therapy to promote natural emotional interaction for children with ASD
Multisensory robotic therapy to promote natural emotional interaction for children with ASD

Burns, R., Azzi, P., Spadafora, M., Park, C. H., Jeon, M., Kim, H. J., Lee, J., Raihan, K., Howard, A.

Proceedings of the Eleventh ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human Robot Interaction (HRI), pages: 571-571, March 2016 (conference)

Abstract
In this video submission, we are introduced to two robots, Romo the penguin and Darwin Mini. We have programmed these robots to perform a variety of emotions through facial expression and body language, respectively. We aim to use these robots with children with autism, to demo safe emotional and social responses in various sensory situations.

hi

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


Interactive Robotic Framework for Multi-Sensory Therapy for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Interactive Robotic Framework for Multi-Sensory Therapy for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Burns, R., Park, C. H., Kim, H. J., Lee, J., Rennie, A., Jeon, M., Howard, A.

In Proceedings of the Eleventh ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human Robot Interaction (HRI), pages: 421-422, March 2016 (inproceedings)

Abstract
In this abstract, we present the overarching goal of our interactive robotic framework - to teach emotional and social behavior to children with autism spectrum disorders via multi-sensory therapy. We introduce our robot characters, Romo and Darwin Mini, and the "Five Senses" scenario they will undergo. This sensory game will develop the children's interest, and will model safe and appropriate reactions to typical sensory overload stimuli.

hi

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Psychophysical Power Optimization of Friction Modulation for Tactile Interfaces

Sednaoui, T., Vezzoli, E., Gueorguiev, D., Amberg, M., Chappaz, C., Lemaire-Semail, B.

In Haptics: Perception, Devices, Control, and Applications, pages: 354-362, Springer International Publishing, Cham, 2016 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Ultrasonic vibration and electrovibration can modulate the friction between a surface and a sliding finger. The power consumption of these devices is critical to their integration in modern mobile devices such as smartphones. This paper presents a simple control solution to reduce up to 68.8 {\%} this power consumption by taking advantage of the human perception limits.

hi

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


Effect of Waveform in Haptic Perception of Electrovibration on Touchscreens
Effect of Waveform in Haptic Perception of Electrovibration on Touchscreens

Vardar, Y., Güçlü, B., Basdogan, C.

In Haptics: Perception, Devices, Control, and Applications, pages: 190-203, Springer International Publishing, Cham, 2016 (inproceedings)

Abstract
The perceived intensity of electrovibration can be altered by modulating the amplitude, frequency, and waveform of the input voltage signal applied to the conductive layer of a touchscreen. Even though the effect of the first two has been already investigated for sinusoidal signals, we are not aware of any detailed study investigating the effect of the waveform on our haptic perception in the domain of electrovibration. This paper investigates how input voltage waveform affects our haptic perception of electrovibration on touchscreens. We conducted absolute detection experiments using square wave and sinusoidal input signals at seven fundamental frequencies (15, 30, 60, 120, 240, 480 and 1920 Hz). Experimental results depicted the well-known U-shaped tactile sensitivity across frequencies. However, the sensory thresholds were lower for the square wave than the sinusoidal wave at fundamental frequencies less than 60 Hz while they were similar at higher frequencies. Using an equivalent circuit model of a finger-touchscreen system, we show that the sensation difference between the waveforms at low fundamental frequencies can be explained by frequency-dependent electrical properties of human skin and the differential sensitivity of mechanoreceptor channels to individual frequency components in the electrostatic force. As a matter of fact, when the electrostatic force waveforms are analyzed in the frequency domain based on human vibrotactile sensitivity data from the literature [15], the electrovibration stimuli caused by square-wave input signals at all the tested frequencies in this study are found to be detected by the Pacinian psychophysical channel.

hi

vardar_eurohaptics_2016 [BibTex]

vardar_eurohaptics_2016 [BibTex]


Method for encapsulating a nanostructure, coated nanostructure and use of a coated nanostructure
Method for encapsulating a nanostructure, coated nanostructure and use of a coated nanostructure

Jeong, H. H., Lee, T. C., Fischer, P.

Google Patents, 2016, WO Patent App. PCT/EP2016/056,377 (patent)

Abstract
The present invention relates to a method for encapsulating a nanostructure, the method comprising the steps of: -providing a substrate; -forming a plug composed of plug material at said substrate; -forming a nanostructure (on or) at said plug; -forming a shell composed of at least one shell material on external surfaces of the nanostructure, with the at least one shell material covering said nanostructure and at least some of the plug material,whereby the shell and the plug encapsulate the nanostructure. The invention further relates to a coated nanostructure and to the use of a coated nanostructure.

pf

link (url) [BibTex]


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On the Effects of Measurement Uncertainty in Optimal Control of Contact Interactions

Ponton, B., Schaal, S., Righetti, L.

In The 12th International Workshop on the Algorithmic Foundations of Robotics WAFR, Berkeley, USA, 2016 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Stochastic Optimal Control (SOC) typically considers noise only in the process model, i.e. unknown disturbances. However, in many robotic applications involving interaction with the environment, such as locomotion and manipulation, uncertainty also comes from lack of precise knowledge of the world, which is not an actual disturbance. We analyze the effects of also considering noise in the measurement model, by devel- oping a SOC algorithm based on risk-sensitive control, that includes the dynamics of an observer in such a way that the control law explicitly de- pends on the current measurement uncertainty. In simulation results on a simple 2D manipulator, we have observed that measurement uncertainty leads to low impedance behaviors, a result in contrast with the effects of process noise that creates stiff behaviors. This suggests that taking into account measurement uncertainty could be a potentially very interesting way to approach problems involving uncertain contact interactions.

am mg

link (url) [BibTex]

link (url) [BibTex]


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A Convex Model of Momentum Dynamics for Multi-Contact Motion Generation

Ponton, B., Herzog, A., Schaal, S., Righetti, L.

In 2016 IEEE-RAS 16th International Conference on Humanoid Robots Humanoids, pages: 842-849, IEEE, Cancun, Mexico, 2016 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Linear models for control and motion generation of humanoid robots have received significant attention in the past years, not only due to their well known theoretical guarantees, but also because of practical computational advantages. However, to tackle more challenging tasks and scenarios such as locomotion on uneven terrain, a more expressive model is required. In this paper, we are interested in contact interaction-centered motion optimization based on the momentum dynamics model. This model is non-linear and non-convex; however, we find a relaxation of the problem that allows us to formulate it as a single convex quadratically-constrained quadratic program (QCQP) that can be very efficiently optimized and is useful for multi-contact planning. This convex model is then coupled to the optimization of end-effector contact locations using a mixed integer program, which can also be efficiently solved. This becomes relevant e.g. to recover from external pushes, where a predefined stepping plan is likely to fail and an online adaptation of the contact location is needed. The performance of our algorithm is demonstrated in several multi-contact scenarios for a humanoid robot.

am mg

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Inertial Sensor-Based Humanoid Joint State Estimation

Rotella, N., Mason, S., Schaal, S., Righetti, L.

In 2016 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), pages: 1825-1831, IEEE, Stockholm, Sweden, 2016 (inproceedings)

Abstract
This work presents methods for the determination of a humanoid robot's joint velocities and accelerations directly from link-mounted Inertial Measurement Units (IMUs) each containing a three-axis gyroscope and a three-axis accelerometer. No information about the global pose of the floating base or its links is required and precise knowledge of the link IMU poses is not necessary due to presented calibration routines. Additionally, a filter is introduced to fuse gyroscope angular velocities with joint position measurements and compensate the computed joint velocities for time-varying gyroscope biases. The resulting joint velocities are subject to less noise and delay than filtered velocities computed from numerical differentiation of joint potentiometer signals, leading to superior performance in joint feedback control as demonstrated in experiments performed on a SARCOS hydraulic humanoid.

am mg

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Stepping Stabilization Using a Combination of DCM Tracking and Step Adjustment

Khadiv, M., Kleff, S., Herzog, A., Moosavian, S. A. A., Schaal, S., Righetti, L.

In 2016 4th International Conference on Robotics and Mechatronics (ICROM), pages: 130-135, IEEE, Teheran, Iran, 2016 (inproceedings)

Abstract
In this paper, a method for stabilizing biped robots stepping by a combination of Divergent Component of Motion (DCM) tracking and step adjustment is proposed. In this method, the DCM trajectory is generated, consistent with the predefined footprints. Furthermore, a swing foot trajectory modification strategy is proposed to adapt the landing point, using DCM measurement. In order to apply the generated trajectories to the full robot, a Hierarchical Inverse Dynamics (HID) is employed. The HID enables us to use different combinations of the DCM tracking and step adjustment for stabilizing different biped robots. Simulation experiments on two scenarios for two different simulated robots, one with active ankles and the other with passive ankles, are carried out. Simulation results demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed method for robots with both active and passive ankles.

am mg

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Structured contact force optimization for kino-dynamic motion generation

Herzog, A., Schaal, S., Righetti, L.

In 2016 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), pages: 2703-2710, IEEE, Daejeon, South Korea, 2016 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Optimal control approaches in combination with trajectory optimization have recently proven to be a promising control strategy for legged robots. Computationally efficient and robust algorithms were derived using simplified models of the contact interaction between robot and environment such as the linear inverted pendulum model (LIPM). However, as humanoid robots enter more complex environments, less restrictive models become increasingly important. As we leave the regime of linear models, we need to build dedicated solvers that can compute interaction forces together with consistent kinematic plans for the whole-body. In this paper, we address the problem of planning robot motion and interaction forces for legged robots given predefined contact surfaces. The motion generation process is decomposed into two alternating parts computing force and motion plans in coherence. We focus on the properties of the momentum computation leading to sparse optimal control formulations to be exploited by a dedicated solver. In our experiments, we demonstrate that our motion generation algorithm computes consistent contact forces and joint trajectories for our humanoid robot. We also demonstrate the favorable time complexity due to our formulation and composition of the momentum equations.

am mg

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Balancing and Walking Using Full Dynamics LQR Control With Contact Constraints

Mason, S., Rotella, N., Schaal, S., Righetti, L.

In 2016 IEEE-RAS 16th International Conference on Humanoid Robots (Humanoids), pages: 63-68, IEEE, Cancun, Mexico, 2016 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Torque control algorithms which consider robot dynamics and contact constraints are important for creating dynamic behaviors for humanoids. As computational power increases, algorithms tend to also increase in complexity. However, it is not clear how much complexity is really required to create controllers which exhibit good performance. In this paper, we study the capabilities of a simple approach based on contact consistent LQR controllers designed around key poses to control various tasks on a humanoid robot. We present extensive experimental results on a hydraulic, torque controlled humanoid performing balancing and stepping tasks. This feedback control approach captures the necessary synergies between the DoFs of the robot to guarantee good control performance. We show that for the considered tasks, it is only necessary to re-linearize the dynamics of the robot at different contact configurations and that increasing the number of LQR controllers along desired trajectories does not improve performance. Our result suggest that very simple controllers can yield good performance competitive with current state of the art, but more complex, optimization-based whole-body controllers. A video of the experiments can be found at https://youtu.be/5T08CNKV1hw.

am mg

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Step Timing Adjustement: a Step toward Generating Robust Gaits

Khadiv, M., Herzog, A., Moosavian, S. A. A., Righetti, L.

In 2016 IEEE-RAS 16th International Conference on Humanoid Robots (Humanoids), pages: 35-42, IEEE, Cancun, Mexico, 2016 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Step adjustment for humanoid robots has been shown to improve robustness in gaits. However, step duration adaptation is often neglected in control strategies. In this paper, we propose an approach that combines both step location and timing adjustment for generating robust gaits. In this approach, step location and step timing are decided, based on feedback from the current state of the robot. The proposed approach is comprised of two stages. In the first stage, the nominal step location and step duration for the next step or a previewed number of steps are specified. In this stage which is done at the start of each step, the main goal is to specify the best step length and step duration for a desired walking speed. The second stage deals with finding the best landing point and landing time of the swing foot at each control cycle. In this stage, stability of the gaits is preserved by specifying a desired offset between the swing foot landing point and the Divergent Component of Motion (DCM) at the end of current step. After specifying the landing point of the swing foot at a desired time, the swing foot trajectory is regenerated at each control cycle to realize desired landing properties. Simulation on different scenarios shows the robustness of the generated gaits from our proposed approach compared to the case where no timing adjustment is employed.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

2012


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Surgical Instrument Vibrations are a Construct-Valid Measure of Technical Skill in Robotic Peg Transfer and Suturing Tasks

Bark, K., Gomez, E. D., Rivera, C., McMahan, W., Remington, A., Murayama, K., Lee, D. I., Dumon, K., Williams, N., Kuchenbecker, K. J.

In Proc. Hamlyn Symposium on Medical Robotics, pages: 50-51, London, England, July 2012, Oral presentation given by Bark (inproceedings)

hi

[BibTex]

2012


[BibTex]


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Spectral Subtraction of Robot Motion Noise for Improved Vibrotactile Event Detection

McMahan, W., Kuchenbecker, K. J.

In Haptics: Perception, Devices, Mobility, and Communication: Proc. EuroHaptics, Part I, 7282, pages: 326-337, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Springer, Tampere, Finland, June 2012, Oral presentation given by Kuchenbecker (inproceedings)

hi

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Refined Methods for Creating Realistic Haptic Virtual Textures from Tool-Mediated Contact Acceleration Data

Culbertson, H., Romano, J. M., Castillo, P., Mintz, M., Kuchenbecker, K. J.

In Proc. IEEE Haptics Symposium, pages: 385-391, Vancouver, Canada, March 2012, Poster presentation given by Culbertson (inproceedings)

hi

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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VerroTouch: Detection of Instrument Vibrations for Haptic Feedback and Skill Assessment in Robotic Surgery

Gomez, E. D., Bark, K., McMahan, W., Rivera, C., Remington, A., Lee, D. I., Kuchenbecker, K. J.

In Proc. Annual Meeting of the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES), San Diego, California, USA, March 2012, Emerging Technology Poster presentation given by Gomez. Poster available at \href{http://thesagesmeeting.org/}{http://thesagesmeeting.org/} (inproceedings)

hi

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Using Accelerometers to Localize Tactile Contact Events on a Robot Arm

McMahan, W., Romano, J. M., Kuchenbecker, K. J.

In Proc. Workshop on Advances in Tactile Sensing and Touch-Based Human-Robot Interaction, ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, Boston, Massachusetts, March 2012, Oral presentation given by McMahan (inproceedings)

hi

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Recreating the feel of the human chest in a CPR manikin via programmable pneumatic damping

Stanley, A. A., Healey, S. K., Maltese, M. R., Kuchenbecker, K. J.

In Proc. IEEE Haptics Symposium, pages: 37-44, Vancouver, Canada, March 2012, Oral presentation given by Stanley (inproceedings)

hi

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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HALO: Haptic Alerts for Low-hanging Obstacles in White Cane Navigation

Wang, Y., Kuchenbecker, K. J.

In Proc. IEEE Haptics Symposium, pages: 527-532, Vancouver, Canada, March 2012, Poster presentation given by Kuchenbecker (inproceedings)

hi

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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VerroTeach: Visuo-audio-haptic Training for Dental Caries Detection

Maggio, M. P., Parajon, R., Kuchenbecker, K. J.

In Proc. Annual American Dental Educator’s Association (ADEA) Conference, Orlando, Florida, 2012, Oral presentation given by Maggio (inproceedings)

hi

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Encoding of Periodic and their Transient Motions by a Single Dynamic Movement Primitive

Ernesti, J., Righetti, L., Do, M., Asfour, T., Schaal, S.

In 2012 12th IEEE-RAS International Conference on Humanoid Robots (Humanoids 2012), pages: 57-64, IEEE, Osaka, Japan, November 2012 (inproceedings)

am mg

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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A Data-Driven Method for Determining Natural Human-Robot Motion Mappings in Teleoperation

Pierce, R. M., Kuchenbecker, K. J.

In Proc. IEEE International Conference on Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics, pages: 169-176, Rome, Italy, 2012, Poster presentation given by Pierce (inproceedings)

hi

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Learning Force Control Policies for Compliant Robotic Manipulation

Kalakrishnan, M., Righetti, L., Pastor, P., Schaal, S.

In ICML’12 Proceedings of the 29th International Coference on International Conference on Machine Learning, pages: 49-50, Edinburgh, Scotland, 2012 (inproceedings)

am mg

[BibTex]

[BibTex]