We focus on a quadruped robot as a mobile platform which would work at various environment such as disaster sites, offices and factories. In this paper, we assume that terrain consists of slopes and we propose a walking gait for a quadruped robot on unknown slopes. In this method, the robot basically walks in trot gait because trot gait has both high stability and practical walking speed in order to walk stably on steep slopes. At first, robot estimates slant of the slope by using body attitude and foot positions on the slope. Then it generates walking pattern for the robot to walk stably on the slope by using inverted pendulum model and multi-mass model of the robot. The proposed method was verified through experiments with a quadruped robot TITAN-VIII walked on slopes where a step or other slope exist halfway.
An octopus suction cup has the characteristic structures, for example a narrow part on sidewall and cone-shaped bottom with radial and cylindrical trenches. These structures will have the function of enhancing flexibility of suction cup. In this paper, we evaluated the effect of three structures imitating octopus suction cup on gripping performance by Finite Element Method (FEM) simulation and the fabricated 8 types of gripper. The narrow part on sidewall and cone-shaped bottom enhanced the followability to a shape. On the other hand, the radial trenches on bottom reduced the ability. The gripper with these structure generated same or higher adhesive force than one without structures.
We conducted a field study to investigate the social acceptance of social robots by stores, particularly for attracting passersby, which today's robots can autonomously perform. From interviews with ten store managers, we identified two main reasons they want to employ such social robots in their stores: robots offer cheap labor and provide unique value that humans cannot. They believe that robots are good at attracting the attention of visitors without causing or receiving stress. We also conducted three case studies in which we observed how store managers employed social robots in their stores. Each store manager requested different designs in the preparation phase. After deployment, we found that the managers were generally satisfied with the services autonomously offered by the robots, which successfully encouraged people to stop. For two out of three stores the robots successfully encouraged visitors to visit. The store managers were satisfied with the results and expressed a desire to use the robots again.
This paper proposes new software and hardware platforms for an informationally structured environment named ROS-TMS and Big Sensor Box. We started the development of a management system for an informationally structured environment named TMS (Town Management System) in Robot Town Project in 2005. Since then we are continuing our efforts for the improvement of the performance and the enhancement of the functions of the TMS. Recently, we launched a new version of TMS named ROS-TMS, which resolves some critical problems in TMS by adopting ROS (Robot Operating System) and utilizing the high scalability and a plenty of resources of ROS. In this paper, we firstly discuss about the requirement and the structure of a software platform for an informationally structured environment, and describe in detail our latest system, ROS-TMS version 4.0. Next, we show the requirement of a hardware platform for an informationally structured environment, and introduce a hardware platform named Big Sensor Box, in which a variety of sensors are embedded and service robots are operated according to the structured information under the management of the ROS-TMS. Robot service experiments including a fetch-and-give task and autonomous control of a wheelchair robot are also conducted in Big Sensor Box.