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.
This paper deals with the problem of picking-up deformable linear workpieces such as cables or ropes with an industrial robot. First, we give a motivation and problem definition. Based on a brief conceptual discussion of possible approaches we derive an algorithm for picking-up hanging deformable linear objects using two light barriers as sensor system. For this hardware, a skill-based approach is described and the parameters and major influence factors are discussed. In an experi- mental study, the feasibility and reliability under diverse conditions are investigated. The algorithm is found to be very reliable, if certain boundary conditions are met.
This paper presents a new approach to parallel motion planning for industrial robot arms with six degrees of freedom in an on-line given 3D environment. The method is based on the A*-search algorithm and needs no essential off-line computations. The algorithm works in an implicitly descrete configuration space. Collisions are detected in the cartesian workspace by hierarchical distance computation based on the given CAD model. By decomposing the 6D configuration space into hypercubes and cyclically mapping them onto multiple processing units, a good load distribution can be achieved. We have implemented the parallel motion planner on a workstation cluster with 9 PCs and tested the planner for several benchmark environments. With optimal discretisation, the new approach usually shows linear, and sometimes even superlinear speedups. In on-line provided environments with static obstacles, the parallel planning times are only a few seconds.
This paper is based on a path planning approach we reported earlier for industrial robot arms with 6 degrees of freedom in an on-line given 3D environment. It has on-line capabilities by searching in an implicit and descrete configuration space and detecting collisions in the Cartesian workspace by distance computation based on the given CAD model. Here, we present different methods for specifying the C-space discretization. Besides the usual uniform and heuristic discretization, we investigate two versions of an optimal discretization for an user-predefined Cartesian resolution. The different methods are experimentally evaluated. Additionally, we provide a set of 3- dimensional benchmark problems for a fair comparison of path planner. For each benchmark, the run-times of our planner are between only 3 and 100 seconds on a Pentium PC with 133 MHz.
In this paper, the problem of path planning for robot manipulators with six degrees of freedom in an on-line provided three-dimensional environment is investigated. As a basic approach, the best-first algorithm is used to search in the implicit descrete configuration space. Collisions are detected in the Cartesian workspace by hierarchical distance computation based on the given CAD model. The basic approach is extended by three simple mechanisms and results in a heuristic hierarchical search. This is done by adjusting the stepsize of the search to the distance between the robot and the obstacles. As a first step, we show encouraging experimental results with two degrees of freedom for five typical benchmark problems.
A new problem for the automated off-line programming of industrial robot application is investigated. The Multi-Goal Path Planning is to find the collision-free path connecting a set of goal poses and minimizing e.g. the total path length. Our solution is based on an earlier reported path planner for industrial robot arms with 6 degrees-of-freedom in an on-line given 3D environment. To control the path planner, four different goal selection methods are introduced and compared. While the Random and the Nearest Pair Selection methods can be used with any path planner, the Nearest Goal and the Adaptive Pair Selection method are favorable for our planner. With the latter two goal selection methods, the Multi-Goal Path Planning task can be significantly accelerated, because they are able to automatically solve the simplest path planning problems first. Summarizing, compared to Random or Nearest Pair Selection, this new Multi-Goal Path Planning approach results in a further cost reduction of the programming phase.
We present a parallel path planning method that is able to automatically handle multiple goal configurations as input. There are two basic approaches, goal switching and bi-directional search, which are combined in the end. Goal switching dynamically selects a fa-vourite goal depending on some distance function. The bi-directional search supports the backward search direction from the goal to the start configuration, which is probably faster. The multi-directional search with goal switching combines the advantages of goal switching and bi-directional search. Altogether, the planning system is enabled to select one of the pref-erable goal configuration by itself. All concepts are experimentally validated for a set of benchmark problems consisting of an industrial robot arm with six degrees of freedom in a 3D environment.
This paper presents a new approach to parallel motion planning for industrial robot arms with six degrees of freedom in an on-line given 3D environment. The method is based on the A-search algorithm and needs no essential off-line computations. The algorithm works in an implicitly descrete configuration space. Collisions are detected in the Cartesian workspace by hierarchical distance computation based on the given CAD model. By decomposing the 6D configuration space into hypercubes and cyclically mapping them onto multiple processing units, a good load distribution can be achieved. We have implemented the parallel motion planner on a workstation cluster with 9 PCs and tested the planner for several benchmark environments. With optimal discretisation, the new approach usually shows linear speedups. In on-line provided environments with static obstacles, the parallel planning times are only a few seconds.
In this paper, we investigate the efficient simulation of deformable linear objects. Based on the state of the art, we extend the principle of minimizing the potential energy by considering plastic deformation and describe a novel approach for treating workpiece dynamics. The major influence factors on precision and computation time are identified and investigated experimentally. Finally, we discuss the usage of parallel processing in order to reduce the computation time.