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Sensory Robotics for the Handling of Limp Materials

Limp materials are used in many economically impo~tant industries such as garment manufacture, shoe manufacture, aerospace (composites) and automobiles (seats and trim). The use of sensors is essential for reliable robotic handling of these materials, which are often based on naturally occurring substances such as cotton and leather. The materials are limp and have non-homogeneous mechanical properties which are often impossible to predict accurately. The applications are very demanding for vision and tactile sensing and signal processing, adaptive control systems, planning and systems integration. This book comprises the collection of papers presented at the NATO Advanced Research Workshop on 'Sensory Robotics for the Handling of Limp Materials', held in October 1988 at II Ciocco, Tuscany, Italy. The aim of the workshop was to examine the state of the art and determine what research is needed to provide the theoretical and technological tools for the successful application of sensory robotics to the handling of limp materials. The meeting also acted as the first-ever forum for the interchange of knowledge between applications-driven researchers and those researching into the provision of fundamental tools. The participants were drawn from academia (20), industry (5), and other non-university research organisations (5).
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Table of Contents

I. Shoes and Composites.- Sensory robotics related to shoe manufacture.- Automated application of soles to shoes.- Round table discussion Sensory robotics for shoes: Trends and future needs.- Robotic handling and lay-up of advanced composite materials - an overview.- II. Garment manufacturing.- A challenge to develop fully automated garment manufacture.- Limp materials research at North Carolina State University.- Sensory robotics: Identifying sewing problems.- Progress towards automated garment manufacture.- Projects for the garment industry at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation (IPA), Stuttgart.- Analysis of a ply-separation gripper.- Round table discussion Sensory robotics in garment manufacture: Trends and future needs.- III. Sensing.- 2D vision techniques for the handling of limp materials.- 3D sensing for robot vision.- An expandable multimicroprocessor system for visual inspection.- Tactile sensors: Application assessment for robotic handling of limp materials.- Round table discussion Sensing: Trends and future research.- IV. Planning and Control.- Trajectory planning and obstacle avoidance.- Planning and sensing tradeoffs in robotics.- Analysis of a probabilistic framework for an intelligent workcell.- Adaptive control.- Fault tolerant microprocessor systems for industrial control.- Round table discussion Planning and control: Trends and future research.- V. Round-up.- Final round table discussion.- List of speakers.- List of participants.

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