This paper describes about activities for the cooperative exercise by Aichi Institute of Technology and Toyota city Fire Department in order to aim at the effective utilization of the disaster response robot in the search and rescue activities on fire. The scenario verification which clarified each role sharing between the robot and the responders, the cooperative exercise results and the lesson learned show the effectiveness of the remote controlled robot at the initial response of search and rescue activities, e.g., the poisonous/flammable gas concentration measurement and the victim search and the door control in closed and confined spaces such as concrete buildings. Discussions on cooperative exercise are important opportunity for understanding and sharing issues about problems in the disaster scene and the robot performance and feature.
Humanoid robot arms have attracted more and more attention since it is human-friendly with the same size and movement characteristics of a human arm. A new 7-DoF (Degrees of Freedom) humanoid robot arm is proposed in this paper. To achieve high torques while keeping down the weight, all the motors are coupled with tendons. 2 motor 2-DoF (2M2D) and 3 motor 3-DoF (3M3D) coupled tendon-driven joint modules are proposed as basic components for the robot arm. The 2M2D coupled tendon-driven joint module and the 3M3D coupled tendon driven joint module structures are analyzed and compared. The 7 DoFs of a human arm were divided into a 3-DoF shoulder joint module, a 2-DoF elbow joint module, and a 2-DoF wrist joint module. The developed robot arm weighed 2.2[kg], while being able to lift a 1.5[kg] load. A current consumption experiment was conducted to verify the torque transmission characteristics of the 2M2D and 3M3D joint modules. A path repeatability experiment and an experiment to imitate dexterous manipulations of a human arm with master-slave control were conducted to investigate the performance of the modularized humanoid robot arm. The experimental results showed that the joint modules realized motor reallocation via tendon coupling, and that the humanoid robot arm was capable of performing dexterous manipulations like a human arm.
The shortage of obstetricians and gynecologist is a serious problem in developed countries. To improve the workflow, we have been developing a robotic platform for supporting the fetal echo sonography, ``Tenang'', which allows for the ultrasound scan following the abdominal surface of pregnant women passively. Meanwhile, the acquired image quality was not constant due to the uncertain contact force between the probe and abdomen. In this paper, we aim to investigate the cause of the decreased image quality through a dynamic model analysis and experiment with a PVC phantom, and to propose the scan method which allows for the stable image acquisition. Thorough the investigation, the relative angle between the probe and body surface caused the contact force and acquired image quality. We hypothesized that the contact force and acquired image quality can be stable by maintaining the relative angle is constantly positive. Then, we proposed a spiral ascending scan that the probe constantly rises on the abdomen spirally. The proposed scan method is verified with an abdominal phantom in the second trimester. The results showed that the variation of the contact force under the spiral ascending scan path was reduced and the image quality was maintained.