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(SD2021-225) Wireless Contact Force Sensing and Localization

Our sense of touch is critical for understanding and interacting with the world around us. While interacting with the physical world, force-sensitive mechanoreceptors in the skin respond to various vibrations, motions, pressures, and stretching of the skin to provide us with critical information on the location and magnitude of the stimuli. Thus, if we want the next generation of tactile sensors to emulate how our skin reacts to stimuli, we need to both sense the magnitude and location of contact forces acting on the sensing surface.Contact force is a natural way for humans to interact with the physical world around us. However, most of our interactions with the digital world are largely based on a simple binary sense of touch (contact or no contact). Similarly, when interacting with robots to perform complex tasks, such as surgery, we need to acquire the rich force information and contact location, to aid in the task.

Low-Cost, Multi-Wavelength, Camera System that Incorporates Artificial Intelligence for Precision Positioning

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a system consisting of cameras and multi-wavelength lasers that is capable of precisely locating and inspecting items.

Programmable System that Mixes Large Numbers of Small Volume, High-Viscosity, Fluid Samples Simultaneously

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a programmable machine that shakes and repeatedly inverts large numbers of small containers - such as vials and flasks – in order to mix high-viscosity fluids.

An Automated Quality Monitoring and Control Method for Concrete 3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing

3D printing of concrete structures is a highly efficient, cheap process. However, imperfections are difficult to detect and can compromise the performance of these structures. UCI researchers have developed a method in which a current sent through the printed structure produces a “fingerprint” that allows the real-time detection of flaws in the concrete structure.

(SD2021-087) Bioinspired Wet Adhesives: Suction discs for adhesion to rough, delicate, and wet surfaces

Adhesion involves highly complex and hierarchical structures in nature, and by understanding the biological intricacies of such adhesive structures, one can improve engineered adhesives. The role of reversible adhesion in both the natural world and in engineering is to temporarily bind to a surface, providing the opportunity to detach and re-attach as needed. In nature, animals use attachment to enhance their fitness.  In robotics, reversible adhesion enables improved manipulation and locomotion by managing contact at the interface between the robot and its environment.

Guided Template Based Electrokinetic Microassembly (TEA)

Researchers at the University of California, Irvine have developed a guided electrokinetic assembly technique that utilizes dielectrophoretic and electroosmotic forces for micro- and nanomanufacturing. This technique provides a new way for assembling microelectronics and living cells for tissue engineering applications.

Smart Suction Cup for Adaptive Gripping and Haptic Exploration

Vacuum grippers are widely used in industry to handle objects via suction pressure. Unicontact suction cups are commonly used for gripping because they are simple to operate and can handle a variety of items, including those that are delicate, large, or inaccessible to jaw grippers. However, suction cup grippers have challenges such as planning a contact location and inertial force-induced grasping failure. To address these challenges, UC Berkeley researchers developed a tactile sensing technology for smart suction cups. This Berkeley sensing technology can detect suction contact and prevent suction cup grasp failures. It can perform tactile sensing of object properties such as roughness or porosity that might lead to grasping failures before they happen. If a grasp failure does happen, the technology gains additional information about why and how the failure occurred to prevent similar failures in future attempts. Sensing occurs quickly, such that robot behavior can remain fast while increasing performance, efficiency and reliability.  As compared with other robotic grasping sensing technologies, this smart suction cup technology is affordable, resilient and easy to service. The cup is manufactured using the same process as other suction cups, and electronics are simple and located away from the point-of-contact and protected from damage or hazardous exposure.

Drone Collision Recovery System

Prof. Konstantinos Karydis’ lab at the University of California, Riverside has developed a new active resilient quadrotor (ARQ), which incorporates passive springs within its frame to absorb shocks and survive collisions.  Each arm of the quadrotor is equipped with sensors to accurately and rapidly detect the location (in the drone’s frame) and intensity of a collision.  In addition, a recovery controller that enables the drone to sustain flight after collision with objects like wall, poles, or moving objects. The technology has been proven on the quadrotor however it may be applied to drones with more than four arms. Fig 1: Instances of the novel ARQ drone detecting and recovering from colllisions in (a) and (b) and from collision with a wall (c) and (d). Fig 2: shows ARQ detecting and recovering from a passive collision. (a) ARQ hovers. (b) Collision starts and the ARQ arm absorbs the shock. (c) recovery control starts and there is a body interfering with the ARQ’s flight path. (d) ARQ is stabilized and hovering again.  

Non Intrusive Workflow Assessment (NIWA) for Manufacturing Optimization

The invention is a smart non-intrusive workflow assessment platform for monitoring and optimizing manufacturing environments. The platform monitors environmental and energy metrics, and provides learning models to classify workers’ activities and relate them to the equipment utilization and performance. Correlating both stream of data enables both workers and supervisors to improve the efficiency of the whole manufacturing process and at an affordable price.

Soft Bodied Hexapedal Robot

Prof. Konstantinos Karydis’ lab at the University of California, Riverside has developed a soft hexapedal robot (SoRx) that may serve as a new tool to applications where operation over rough and/or unstructured terrain is required.  For example when looking for survivors in the aftermath of an earthquake this soft legged robot may be easily deployed. Operation in such terrains still challenges more rigid legged robots; instead, soft legged robots could squeeze and bend to overcome obstacles and fit into crevices to explore their environment. Other uses of SoRX may include educational and recreational applications.       Fig 1: shows that SoRX maintains stable locomotion on an unstable platform that is oscillating in the X-Y plane at speeds comparable to the robot’s forward speed,

A Fully Integrated Stretchable Sensor Arrays for Wearable Sign Language Translation To Voice

UCLA researchers in the Department of Bioengineering have developed a novel machine learning assisted wearable sensor system for the direct translation of sign language into voice with high performance.

Autonomous Comfort Systems Via An Infrared-Fused Vision-Driven Robotic Systems

Robotic comfort systems have been developed which use fans to deliver heated/cooling air to building occupants to provide greater levels of personal comfort.  However, current robotic systems rely on surveys asking individuals about their comfort state through a web interface or app.  This reliance on user feedback becomes impractical due to survey fatigue on the part of the user.  Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have developed a system which uses a visible light camera located on the nozzle of a robotic fan to detect human facial features (e.g., eyes, nose, and lips).  Images from a co-located thermal camera are then registered onto the visible light image and temperatures of different facial features are captured and used to infer the comfort state of the individual.  Accordingly, the fan/heater system blows air with a specific velocity and temperature toward the occupant via a closed-loop feedback control.  Since the system can track a person in an environment, it addresses issues with prior data collection systems that needed occupants to be positioned in a specific location.

Microfluidic Dispenser for Automated, High-Precision, Liquids Handling

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a robotic dispensing interface that uses a microfluidic-embedded container cap – often referred to as a microfluidic Cap-to-Dispense or μCD - to seamlessly integrate robotic operations into precision liquids handling.

Training Platform for Transoral Robotic Surgery

UCLA researchers in the Departments of Bioengineering and Head & Neck Surgery have developed a novel robotic platform for the training of transoral surgery.

Predictive Controller that Optimizes Energy and Water Used to Cool Livestock

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a controller that applies environmental data to optimizing operations of livestock cooling equipment.

Soft Shear Force Resistive Sensor Embedded Artificial Skin

UCLA researchers in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering have developed a bioinspired, thin and flexible liquid metal filled resistive PDMS microchannel shear force sensing skin.

Augmented Reality For Time-Delayed Telsurgical Robotics

Teleoperation brings the advantage of remote control and manipulation to distant locations or harsh or constrained environments. The system allows operators to send commands from a remote console, traditionally called a master device, to a robot, traditionally called a slave device, and offers synchronization of movements. This allows the remote user to operate as if on-site, making teleoperational systems an ideal and often only solution to a wide range of applications such as underwater exploration, space robotics, mobile robots, and telesurgery. The main technical challenge in realizing remote telesurgery (and similarly, all remote teleoperation) is the latency from the communication distance between the master and slave. This delay causes overshoot and oscillations in the commanded positions, and are observable and statistically significant in as little as 50msec of round trip communication delay. Predictive displays are virtual reality renderings, generally designed for space operations, that show a prediction of the events to follow in a short amount of time. It can be used to overcome the negative effects of delay by giving the operator immediate feedback from a predicted environment. Furthermore, it does not suffer stability issues that arise with delayed haptic feedback. Early predictive displays included manipulation of the Engineering Test Satellite 7 from ground control where the round trip delay can be up to 7sec and Augmented Reality (AR) rendering where the prediction is overlaid on raw image data. These strategies can be applied to telesurgery, but require overcoming the unique challenges in calculating and tracking the 3D environment for a full environment prediction, which includes non-rigid material such as tissue. Furthermore, prior work in the surgical robotics community highlights the need for active tracking rather than only relying on kinematic calibrations to localize the slave due to the millimeter scale of a surgical operation and the often utilized cable driven actuation.

Accurate and Secure Navigation for Autonomous Vehicles

While cellular phone networks are not designed for navigation, they are abundant in urban environments which are known to challenge GPS signals.  University of California, Riverside researchers integrated signals-of-opportunity from mobile phone networks to provide autonomous vehicles with precise navigational information.

Soft Burrowing Robot for Simple & Non-Invasive Subterranean Locomotion

A soft robot that can successfully burrow through sand and dirt, similar to a plant root.

Hydraulically Actuated Textiles

A soft, planar, actuator based on hydraulically actuated textiles.

Actively Controlled Microarchitectures with Programmable Bulk Material Properties

Professor Jonathan Hopkins and colleagues have developed amechanical programmable metamaterial consisting of an array of actively, independently controlled micro-scale unit cells. This technology allows for the application of materials which have instantly changeable, programmable properties that can exceed those of conventional, existing materials.

An Actuator Device Driven By Electrostatic Forces

Researchers in the UCLA Department of Materials Science and Engineering have developed an electrostatically actuated device with reversible high-frequency operation that consumes low power and has low fabrication costs.

Synaptic Resistor With Signal Processing, Memory, And Learning Functions

Researchers led by Yong Chen from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering have developed an artificial synapse for neuromorphic chips that have integrated logic, memory, and learning capabilities.

Quality interference from living digital twins in IoT-enabled manufacturing systems

Researchers at UCI have developed a non-intrusive method for building a virtual replica of manufacturing machine, which allows for accurate diagnostics of the state of the system. This provides manufacturers with real-time information on quality control and immediately identifies any malfunctions in the system.

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