Latest Papers

ASME Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics

  • Intuitive Physical Human–Robot Interaction Using an Underactuated Redundant Manipulator With Complete Spatial Rotational Capabilities
    by Audet JM, Gosselin C. on July 21, 2021 at 12:00 am

    AbstractIn this paper, the concept of underactuated redundancy is presented using a novel spatial two-degrees-of-freedom (2-DoF) gravity-balanced rotational manipulator, composed of movable counterweights. The proposed kinematic arrangement makes it possible to intuitively manipulate a payload undergoing 3-DoF spatial rotations by adding a third rotational axis oriented in the direction of gravity. The static equilibrium equations of the 2-DoF architecture are first described in order to provide the required configuration of the counterweights for a statically balanced mechanism. A method for calibrating the mechanism, which establishes the coefficients of the static equilibrium equations, is also presented. In order to both translate and rotate the payload during manipulation, the rotational manipulator is mounted on an existing translational manipulator. Experimental validations of both systems are presented to demonstrate the intuitive and responsive behavior of the manipulators during physical human–robot interactions.

  • Special Section: Mobile Robots and Unmanned Ground Vehicles
    by Reina G, Das TK, Quaglia G, et al. on July 21, 2021 at 12:00 am

    Inspired by the fifth-year anniversary celebration of the homonymous symposium at the International Mechanical Engineering Congress & Exposition (IMECE), this Special Section with ten articles shares the latest research efforts in design, theory, development, and applications for mobile robots and unmanned ground vehicles.

Autonomous Docking of Hybrid-Wheeled Modular Robots With an Integrated Active Genderless Docking Mechanism


This paper presents a self-reconfigurable modular robot with an integrated two degrees-of-freedom (DOF) active docking mechanism. Active docking in modular robotic systems has received a lot of interest recently as it allows small versatile robotic systems to coalesce and achieve the structural benefits of large systems. This feature enables reconfigurable modular robotic systems to bridge the gap between small agile systems and larger robotic systems. The proposed self-reconfigurable mobile robot design exhibits dual mobility using a tracked drive for longitudinal locomotion and a wheeled drive for lateral locomotion. The 2-DOF docking interface allows for efficient docking while tolerating misalignments. To aid autonomous docking, visual marker-based tracking is used to detect and re-position the source robot relative to the target robot. The tracked features are then used in Image-Based Visual Servoing to bring the robots close enough for the docking procedure. The hybrid-tracking algorithm allows eliminating external pixelated noise in the image plane resulting in higher tracking accuracy along with faster frame update on a low-cost onboard computational device. This paper presents the overall mechanical design and the integration details of the modular robotic module with the docking mechanism. An overview of the autonomous tracking and docking algorithm is presented along with a proof-of-concept real-world demonstration of autonomous docking and self-reconfigurability. Experimental results to validate the robustness of the proposed tracking method, as well as the reliability of the autonomous docking procedure, are also presented.
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