Robots

 

There are many kinds of research in Robotics going on in our lab. Explained below, some pictures of our robots are depicted. For further details about the projects that involve those robots, please visit our project's section website: PROJECTS

AIR ROBOTS

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The DraganFlyer: a quad-rotor unmanned aerial vehicle capable of autonomous flight. This prototype has been hardware-modified in order to address the required sensing capabilities such as: IMU, GPS, Data-link and so on. A robust control architecture has been developed in order to achieve autonomous navigation based on novel control methodology called: Backstepping+FST, which combines classical nonlinear backstepping approach with the Ferret Serret Theory in order to improve on the attitude stabilization while maneuvering.
The Hummingbird: These small four-rotor UAVs, can carry up to 200 g of payload for about 20 to 25 minutes. Measuring 53 cm in diameter, the Hummingbird's overall weight including LiPo batteries is 484g. The Hummingbird is propelled by four brushless DC motors and is equipped with a variety of sensors: Besides the usual accelerometers, gyros and a magnetic field sensor, a pressure sensor and a GPS module that provides input for a sophisticated sensor fusion algorithm and the control loop running at 1 kHz. Outdoor navigation is based on GPS whereas indoor flight is based on camera.

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The Air-robot: The Air-robot is a Vertical Take Off and Land aerial platform capable of carrying out surveillance tasks during any hour of the day.Payloads carried by the AR100B include: Thermal Imaging, Night Vision, Colour Video, High Quality Still Image and powerful zoom function cameras.
The VAMPIRA project (a spanish acronym that stands for Guidance, Navigation and Control of an Autonomous Aerial Vehicle) was active from 2003 to 2006 under public grant DPI-2003-0176. Its main objective was the development of an autonomous mini-helicopter (UAV) with the following capabilities:
- autonomous cruise flight and manoeuvre transition strategies;
- mission planning tools based on a GIS system;
- navigation system with enhanced reality; round control station.

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BaTboT robot (in cooperation with Fluid Mechanics Laboratory at Brown University): Using Shape Memory alloys as muscle-like     actuator acting as biceps and triceps along the wing-skeleton structure of the robot, BaTboT is the first bat-like aerial robot with controlled morphing wings. Biological bats achieve an amazing level of maneuverability mainly because their capacity of changing wing morphology during flight. They can fold and expand their rings in order to increase lift or reduce drag, which have significant impact on better aerodynamics. Attempting to mimic that functionality using an artificial counterpart, requires the analysis of bat flight and novel technologies ranging from design to control issues.

GROUND ROBOTS

The MoonHound. As interest in exploration of the Moon soars among the world’s space agencies, ESA, through its General Studies Programme, has challenged university students to develop a robotic vehicle that is capable of working in difficult terrain, comparable to that found at the lunar poles.
The rover had to be able to move from a ‘landing site’ to the rim of a lunar-like crater, descend to the bottom of the 15 m deep crater, locate and retrieve at least 0.1 kg of selected, visually distinctive, soil samples from the bottom of the crater and return to the ‘landing site’. When descending and climbing the rim of the crater the rover had to be capable of driving on slopes with an incline of up to 40 degrees.
The rover had to be remotely operated from a workstation located outside the crater, from where there was no direct visibility of the crater or its rim. And all this had to be done in light which cast very long shadows at the rim and total darkness in the crater

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ROSPHERE is a spherical shape robot, which was initially thought as an alternative mobile system to move over non-compacted surfaces (e.g. sand). Nowadays, the concept has been extended to perform exploration and monitoring tasks.  The robot has as a basic principle of locomotion, the relocation of its center of gravity, which is necessary in order to induce instability to make the robot roll over itself.

Slinky-Bot: Slinky has been conceived as an individual in a swarm of robots dedicated to exploring rough terrain (like the Lunar surface).The four legs of the Slinky-bot robot have independent movements. They are connected to the body by means of four continuous rotation drives with a feedback of the position. This configuration is very versatile and allows, at least, implement five different locomotion modes: ‘slinky, ‘rolling’, ‘caterpillar’, ‘quadruped’ and ‘whegs’. The two firsts modes have been selected as principal means of locomotion: ‘slinky’ and ‘rolling’. The rest of the modes can be used punctually to overcome obstacles for a better adaptation. These modes base the movement in carrying out back flips or cartwheels. While the robot surface in relation to its mass, is wide, the pressure against the ground is low, which guarantees movement on any kind of surface; even though is sand or dust, avoiding in this way  the wheels to be buried.

Slinky has appeared in IEEE Spectrum Video Friday

and in the servo magazine june 2013

 

Summit XL Robot

Snake-like robot: Small robots have the potential to access confined spaces where humans cannot go. However, the mobility of wheeled and tracked systems is severely constrained in cluttered environments. Snake robots using biologically inspired gaits for locomotion can provide better access in many situations

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Pionneer explorer developing tactics and procedures for employment of new robotics systems in the battle space, aiming at executing missions over much longer resupply periods than its manned counterparts. The NM-RS will provide simulation software for supervised autonomous mobility in structured and unstructured environment. This simulation device provides the capability to train and control unmanned forces in collaborative environments.

Sensobots Together with “traditional“ approach, in the last years a new concept of planetary surface exploration is being introduced and investigated also within the European Space Agency (ESA). The concept is quite simple and consists in spreading around a certain number of sensors communicating among themselves in a wireless networked fashion. Those!sensors, all together, basically constitute a distributed instrument with the potentiality of broadening the capability of making science on and around a planetary body.

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The Fleet: Cooperation among robots is one of the most active fields within the robotic research nowadays. The main goal is to develop robust cooperation architectures that allows that a set of robots connected through a network being capable of perform team behavior to achieve with a specific mission requirement.

WATER ROBOTS

-Tuna Fish robot: Actuators technology in robotics is basically centered on by two kind of actuators: electric motors/servomotors and pneumatic/hydraulic actuators. In mobile robotics, the former is mostly used, with exceptions being e.g. large legged robots. The (rotatory) motion of the motors is transmitted to the effectors through gearboxes, bearings, belts and other mechanical devices in the case that linear actuation is needed. Although applied with success in uncountable robotic devices, such systems can be complex, heavy and bulky.
In underwater robots, propellers are most used for locomotion an maneuvering. Propellers however may have problems of cavitation, noise, efficiency, can get tangled with vegetation and other objects and can be dangerous for sea life. Underwater creatures are capable of high performance movements in water. Thus, underwater robot design based on the mechanism of fish locomotion appears to be a promising approach.

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