Besides the work in the field of manipulating rigid objects, currently, there are several research and development activities going on in the field of manipulating non-rigid or deformable objects. Several papers have been published on international conferences in this field from various projects and countries. But there has been no comprehensive work which provides both a representative overview of the state of the art and identifies the important aspects in this field. Thus, we collected these activities and invited the corresponding working groups to present an overview of their research. Altogether, nineteen authors coming from Japan, Germany, Italy, Greece, United Kingdom, and Australia contributed to this book. Their research work covers all the different aspects that occur when manipulating deformable objects. The contributions can be characterized and grouped by the following four aspects: * object modeling and simulation, * planning and control strategies, * collaborative systems, and * applications and industrial experiences. In the following, we give a short motivation and overview of the single chapters of the book. The simulation of deformable objects is one way to approach the problem of manipulating these objects by robots. Based on a physical model of the object and the occurring constraints, the resulting object shape is calculated. In Chapter 2, Hirai presents an energy-based approach, where the internal energy under the geometric constraints is minimized. Frugoli et al. introduce a force-based approach, where the forces between discrete particles are minimized meeting given constraints. Finally, Remde and Henrich extend the energy-based approach to plastic deformation and give a solution of the inverse simulation problem. Even if the object behavior is predicted by simulation, there is still the question of how to control the robot during a single manipulation operation. An additional question is how to retrieve an overall plan for the concatenated manipulation operations. In Chapter 3, Wada investigates the control problems when positioning multiple points of a planar deformable object. McCarrager proposes a control scheme exploiting the flexibility, rather than minimizing it. Abegg et al. use a simple contact state model to describe typical assembly tasks and to derive robust manipulation primitives. Finally, Ono presents an automatic sewing system and suggests a strategy for unfolding fabric. In several manipulation tasks, it is reasonable to apply more than one robot. Especially in cases, where the deformable object has to take a specific shape. Since the robots working at the same object are influencing each other, different control algorithms have to be introduced. In Chapter 4, Yoshida and Kosuge investigates this problem for the task of bending a sheet of metal and exploits the relation ship between the static object deformation and the bending moments. Tanner and Kyriakopoulos regard the deformable object as underactuated mechanical system and make use of the existence of non-holonomic constraints. Both approaches model the deformable object as finite elements. All of the above aspects have their counterpart in different applications and industrial experiences. In Chapter 5, Rizzi et al. present test cases and applications of their approach to simulate the manipulation of fabric, wires, cables, and soft bags. Buckingham and Graham give an overview of two European projects processing white fish including locating, gripping, and deheading the fish. Maruyama outlines the three development phases of a robot system for performing outage-free maintenance of live-line power supply in Japan. Finally, Kämper presents the development of a flexible automatic cabling unit for the wiring of long-tube lighting with plug components.
Due to continuously increasing demands in the area of advanced robot control, it became necessary to speed up the computation. One way to reduce the computation time is to distribute the computation onto several processing units. In this survey we present different approaches to parallel computation of robot kinematics and Jacobian. Thereby, we discuss both the forward and the reverse problem. We introduce a classification scheme and classify the references by this scheme.