Team, Visitors, External Collaborators
Overall Objectives
Research Program
Highlights of the Year
New Software and Platforms
New Results
Bilateral Contracts and Grants with Industry
Partnerships and Cooperations
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Section: New Software and Platforms


Robot Vision Platform

Participants : François Chaumette, Alexandre Krupa, Eric Marchand, Fabien Spindler [contact] .

We exploit two industrial robotic systems built by Afma Robots in the nineties to validate our research in visual servoing and active vision. The first one is a 6 DoF Gantry robot, the other one is a 4 DoF cylindrical robot (see Fig. 2). These robots are equipped with monocular RGB cameras. The Gantry robot also allows mounting grippers on its end-effector. Attached to this platform, we can also find a collection of various RGB and RGB-D cameras used to validate vision-based real-time tracking algorithms (see Sections 6.1.1 and 6.1.2). Note that four papers [32], [14], [52], [53] published by Rainbow in 2019 include results validated on this platform.

Figure 2. Rainbow robotics platform for vision-based manipulation

Mobile Robots

Participants : Marie Babel, Solenne Fortun, François Pasteau, Julien Pettré, Quentin Delamare, Fabien Spindler [contact] .

For fast prototyping of algorithms in perception, control and autonomous navigation, the team uses a Pioneer 3DX from Adept (see Fig. 3.a). This platform is equipped with various sensors needed for autonomous navigation and sensor-based control.

Moreover, to validate our research in personally assisted living topic (see Section 6.4.4), we have three electric wheelchairs, one from Permobil, one from Sunrise and the last from YouQ (see Fig. 3.b). The control of the wheelchair is performed using a plug and play system between the joystick and the low level control of the wheelchair. Such a system lets us acquire the user intention through the joystick position and control the wheelchair by applying corrections to its motion. The wheelchairs have been fitted with cameras, ultrasound and time of flight sensors to perform the required servoing for assisting handicapped people. This year we also bought a wheelchair haptic simulator to develop new human interaction strategies in a virtual reality environment (see Fig. 3(c)).

Pepper, a human-shaped robot designed by SoftBank Robotics to be a genuine day-to-day companion (see Fig. 3.d) is also part of this platform. It has 17 DoF mounted on a wheeled holonomic base and a set of sensors (cameras, laser, ultrasound, inertial, microphone) that makes this platform interesting for robot-human interactions during locomotion (see Section 6.2.6).

Note that 2 papers and 1 PhD Thesis exploiting the mobile robots were published this year [42], [54], [1].

Figure 3. Mobile Robot Platform. a) Pioneer P3-DX robot, b) wheelchairs from Permobil, Sunrise and YouQ, c) Wheelchair haptic simulator, d) Pepper human-shaped robot
IMG/pioneer.png IMG/fauteuil-tous.jpg IMG/simu_platform.png IMG/pepper.jpg
(a) (b) (c) (d)

Medical Robotic Platform

Participants : Alexandre Krupa, Fabien Spindler [contact] .

This platform is composed of two 6 DoF Adept Viper arms (see Figs. 4.a–b). Ultrasound probes connected either to a SonoSite 180 Plus or an Ultrasonix SonixTouch 2D and 3D imaging system can be mounted on a force torque sensor attached to each robot end-effector. The haptic Virtuose 6D or Omega 6 device (see Fig. 7.a) can also be used within this platform.

This year this platform was extended with a new ATI Nano43 force/torque sensor dedicated to needle insertion applications.

This testbed is of primary interest for researches and experiments concerning ultrasound visual servoing applied to probe positioning, soft tissue tracking, elastography or robotic needle insertion tasks (see Sect. 6.4.3 and Sect. 6.4.2).

This platform was used to obtain experimental results presented in 4 new papers [6], [23], [38], [51].

Figure 4. Rainbow medical robotic platforms. a) On the right Viper S850 robot arm equipped with a SonixTouch 3D ultrasound probe. On the left Viper S650 equipped with a tool changer that allows to attach a classical camera or biopsy needles. b) Robotic setup for autonomous needle insertion by visual servoing.
IMG/viper-twin.png    IMG/needle_setup.png
(a)    (b)

Advanced Manipulation Platform

Participants : François Chaumette, Claudio Pacchierotti, Paolo Robuffo Giordano, Fabien Spindler [contact] .

This new platform is composed by 2 Panda lightweight arms from Franka Emika equipped with torque sensors in all seven axes. An electric gripper, a camera or a soft hand from qbrobotics can be mounted on the robot end-effector (see Fig. 5.a) to validate our researches in coupling force and vision for controlling robot manipulators (see Section 6.2.12) and in shared control for remote manipulation (see Section 6.4.1). Other haptic devices (see Section 5.4.6) can also be coupled to this platform.

This year this platform was extended with a new Reflex TakkTile 2 gripper from RightHand Labs (see Fig. 5.b). A new force/torque sensor from Alberobotics that can be mounted on the robot end-effector to get more precision during torque control was also bought.

Two new papers published this year include experimental results obtained with this platform [50], [66].

Figure 5. Rainbow advanced manipulation platform. a) One of the two Panda lightweight arms from Franka Emika, with mounted the Pisa SoftHand, b) the Reflex TakkTile 2 gripper that could be mounted on the Panda robot end-effector.
IMG/franka.jpg IMG/reflex-tacktile2.jpg

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)

Participants : Joudy Nader, Paolo Robuffo Giordano, Claudio Pacchierotti, Fabien Spindler [contact] .

Rainbow is involved in several activities involving perception and control for single and multiple quadrotor UAVs. To this end, we purchased four quadrotors from Mikrokopter Gmbh, Germany (see Fig. 6.a), and one quadrotor from 3DRobotics, USA (see Fig. 6.b). The Mikrokopter quadrotors have been heavily customized by: (i) reprogramming from scratch the low-level attitude controller onboard the microcontroller of the quadrotors, (ii) equipping each quadrotor with a NVIDIA Jetson TX2 board running Linux Ubuntu and the TeleKyb-3 software based on genom3 framework developed at LAAS in Toulouse (the middleware used for managing the experiment flows and the communication among the UAVs and the base station), and (iii) purchasing the Flea Color USB3 cameras together with the gimbal needed to mount them on the UAVs. The quadrotor group is used as robotic platforms for testing a number of single and multiple flight control schemes with a special attention on the use of onboard vision as main sensory modality.

This year 2 papers [20], [25] and 2 PhD Theses [3] contain simulative and experimental results obtained with this platform [1].

Figure 6. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Platform. a) Quadrotor XL1 from Mikrokopter, b) Quadrotor Iris from 3DRobotics, c) Formation control with 3 XL1 from Mikrokopter.
IMG/QC.jpg IMG/Iris.png IMG/formation-drones.jpg
(a) (b) (c)

Haptics and Shared Control Platform

Participants : Claudio Pacchierotti, Paolo Robuffo Giordano, Fabien Spindler [contact] .

Various haptic devices are used to validate our research in shared control. We have a Virtuose 6D device from Haption (see Fig. 7.a). This device is used as master device in many of our shared control activities (see Sections 6.4.2 and 6.4.3). It could also be coupled to the Haption haptic glove in loan from the University of Birmingham. An Omega 6 (see Fig. 7.b) from Force Dimension and devices in loan from Ultrahaptics complete this platform that could be coupled to the other robotic platforms.

This platform was used to obtain experimental results presented in 9 papers [6], [50], [43], [44], [38], [45], [11], [51], [5] published this year.

Figure 7. Haptics and Shared Control Platform. a) Virtuose 6D and b) Omega 6 haptic devices
IMG/virtuose.jpg    IMG/omega6.jpg
(a)    (b)