A method to calculate the required work time is proposed for parts alignment robots that consist of two robots to perform bin-picking multiple types of general-shaped parts and aligning them on a pallet via a belt conveyor. The proposed method calculates the total work time required for parts to be aligned at all locations on the pallet, in which the state transition with success probability, the resource assigning coefficients to represent the work time ratios of the robots, and the state transition velocity diagram are introduced, and the part staying time on the conveyor belt is assumed to be infinite. With these treatments, the total work time is expressed as a function of the resource assigning coefficients, so that the expected value of the shortest total work time can be obtained as the optimum solution using the minimax method. Then, the implementation algorithm of parts alignment work is embodied for the case where the part staying time on the belt conveyor is finite. By comparing the average and the expected values of the total work time, the proposed method has been confirmed to be appropriate.
In this study, we have developed a prototype of a status indicator (light) suitable for ``Foodly,'' which is a collaborative robot that works alongside people in the process of serving lunches in a food factory. In order for the robot to work with people, it must have a non-fearful, non-intimidating appearance and a display that can provide safety and operational information appropriately. We built several prototypes and compared their appearance. We determined if the information provided could be properly understood. We classified the safety information into four categories, which can be easily recognized by users from safety and operational perspectives.
We have developed the haptic MR fluid device for teleoperation endoscopic surgery systems to provide high-fidelity haptic feedback. We proposed an original mechanism that performs pivot motions and insertions of the forceps. This device used two sets of the MR fluid actuator for rolling and pitching rotation and two MR fluid brakes for insertion and grasping. In addition, the kinematic model and results of performance tests are described. According to the step response tests with an open-loop control method for the reaction force on the gripper, though the static force has at most 0.1 N error, it was remarkably stable.
Various types of material handling robots (AGVs, Automatic Guided Vehicles) have been developed to improve the work efficiency at construction sites, yet neither of them has been popularized. In this work, we present a gate-type robot suitable for automatic material handling during interior construction. The effectiveness of the robot has been evaluated through experiments in real construction sites. A gate-type robot has the following three characteristics: (i) the payload-weight ratio is near 5; (ii) picking and placing of randomly located carts (loaded with building materials) is possible; (iii) complex environments at construction sites can be navigated smoothly without unnecessary movement.
In this paper, the authors described a method of increasing traction force by a small number of pneumatic actuators of a wave propagation type pipe inspection robot with a series antagonistic mechanism. The pipes used for fluid transportation in the factory have a long distance. They have the small inner diameter and multiple bends to be installed small space. Therefore, it is difficult to evaluate the overall cleanliness in long-distance, complex and small inner diameter pipes with the endoscopy due to friction between the side surface of the endoscope and the inner wall of the pipe. In this study, we proposed a method for inspecting the pipes in a factory by a wave propagation type pipe inspection robot (PI-Ro) with a linear antagonistic mechanism that actively outputs pushing force and traction force. However, the simple application of PI-Ro is expected to reduce the inspection speed in complex and thin pipes with long-distance in factories. In this paper, we proposed a mechanism to increase the traction force by synthesis of the linear antagonistic mechanisms while minimizing the increase in the number of drive units. This mechanism increased the theoretical traction force by 1.88 times and realized the inspecting of the factory piping mockup.
Sound source separation extracts only sound sources of interest from a mixture of sound sources and it is used as pre-processing for automatic speech recognition. For example, it reduces ambient noise, and automatic speech recognition and speaker identification are expected to improve. A commonly used sound source separation method is called beamforming using a microphone array consisting of multiple microphones. Although beamforming can separate sound sources based on the direction obtained from inter-microphone time and level differences, it has a limitation that it cannot separate sound sources in the same direction. In this paper, we propose a location-specific source separation method using multiple microphone arrays to solve this problem. In the proposed method, first, each microphone array separates a target sound source, and each separated sound includes other noise sources in the same direction of the target sound source mentioned above. Since the target sound source is included in all separated sounds, the proposed method extracts signals commonly included in the separated sounds to remove such noise sources. Preliminary results through numerical simulation showed the proposed method with non-negative matrix factorization as sound source separation worked properly.
On-chip actuator is an essential component to realize single cell analysis in microfluidic device. Previously, we proposed a light-driven gel actuator for single cell manipulations. The advantage of this drive method is it enables local heating for integration of large number of actuators on a microfluidic chip. In this study, we present multiple cell manipulations system by using integrated light-driven gel actuators. We construct the microscope to irradiate patterned light by using digital mirror device. Therefore, we can drive multiple gel actuators selectively. Finally, we demonstrate an example of cell manipulations by using integrated gel actuators and the constructed system.
Robots are expected to replace the household chores and manual labor performed by humans. However, object manipulation by a dual-arm robot is still difficult because it is necessary to consider interaction between the dual arms. Therefore, in this study, we extend imitation learning based on bilateral control, which is fast and highly adaptive to environmental changes, to the cooperative motion of dual-arm robots. In addition, we verify a model for learning the cooperative motion of the dual arms. From the experimental results, we find that the model for learning the cooperative motion of the dual arms requires the information of the dual arms to be input to a single predictor. In particular, we conclude that a model in which each arm's information is processed by a separate predictor and then integrated is effective.