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Neural Systems for Robotics

Neural Systems for Robotics

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Neural Systems for Robotics

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626 pagine
7 ore
Pubblicato:
Dec 2, 2012
ISBN:
9780080925097
Formato:
Libro

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Neural Systems for Robotics represents the most up-to-date developments in the rapidly growing aplication area of neural networks, which is one of the hottest application areas for neural networks technology. The book not only contains a comprehensive study of neurocontrollers in complex Robotics systems, written by highly respected researchers in the field but outlines a novel approach to solving Robotics problems. The importance of neural networks in all aspects of Robot arm manipulators, neurocontrol, and Robotic systems is also given thorough and in-depth coverage. All researchers and students dealing with Robotics will find Neural Systems for Robotics of immense interest and assistance.
  • Focuses on the use of neural networks in robotics-one of the hottest application areas for neural networks technology
  • Represents the most up-to-date developments in this rapidly growing application area of neural networks
  • Contains a new and novel approach to solving Robotics problems
Pubblicato:
Dec 2, 2012
ISBN:
9780080925097
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

Omid Omidvar is a professor of Computer Science at the University of Computer Science at the University of the District of Columbia, Washington, D.C. He is also a technical director of SPPARC center; a supercomputing facility funded by NSF. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma in 1967 and has done extensive work in applications of Neural Networks in Optical Character Recognition and Finger Print for the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Dr. Omidvar has been a consultant to many of the world's most important corporations including IBM, Sun, Gumann, and has completed a five year project for the District of Columbia NASA Consortium in design and performance evaluation of neurocontrollers. Dr. Omidvar is also the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Artificial Neural Networks, has been an editor of Progress in Neural Network Series since 1990, and has published a large number of journal and conference publications. In addition to teaching, Dr. Omidvar is also currently working as a computer scientist in the Image Recognition Group, Advanced System Division, at NIST.

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Neural Systems for Robotics - Omid Omidvar

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Preface

What place does a book containing a set of papers on a specific research topic have in the midst of the current deluge of publications and preprints, most of which are available free of charge and without leaving one’s desk? It is exactly this ever-increasing amount of publications which more and more necessitates the reviewing process, and asks for a digest of the published material. That is what we set out to do.

When putting together a book on neural networks and robotics, papers with different angles, views, and themes have to be somehow selected and combined so that a coherent volume emerges. Naturally, a full review of the field is impossible in any manageable number of pages. In this volume you will find lengthy papers giving an extensive overview of the field, and describing one or more approaches in detail. Thus a picture of the whole research field, where robotics and neural networks are combined, emerges.

The chapters in this book are logically selected and grouped. The path that is followed goes through four stages:

1. Research inspired by biological systems at the behavioral level

2. Control of robot arms using artificial neural networks

3. Simulation of and inspiration by biological neural systems

4. Control and navigation of mobile robots using artificial neural networks.

The first three chapters describe neural networks which simulate biological systems at the behavioral level. The third chapter ends with neural control of a robot arm; this topic is picked up by the subsequent—overview—chapter, followed by an in-depth study in this field. The next three chapters are focused on biological neural systems, and describe applications in the navigation of mobile robots. This theme is covered in detail in the final two chapters.

Evaluating a biological system at the behavioral level, Chapter 1, Neural Network Sonar as a Perceptual Modality for Robotics, by Itiel Dror, Mark Zagaeski, Damien Rios, and Cynthia Moss, describes a neural network which approximates echo-locating behavior of the big brown bat, Eptesicus fuscus. Using previous studies of this bat, a neural system is introduced which can determine speed of movement using a single echolocation only, referring back to studies which show that bats differentiate between different wingbeat rates of insects. The results presented in this chapter provide a good basis for the use of echolocation in robotic systems.

In Chapter 2, Dynamic Balance of a Biped Walking Robot, by Thomas Miller III and Andrew Kun, a neural system is used to have a robot learn to walk. The approach is unique: Instead of using analyses of walking behavior of biological systems, the neural network-driven robot uses feedback from force sensors mounted on the undersides of the feet, as well as from accelerometers mounted on the body. The learning behavior that is exhibited typically resembles that of biological systems which learn to walk.

A technique for the control of robot manipulators is introduced in Chapter 3, Visual Feedback in Motion, by Patrick van der Smagt and Frans Groen. This research is also inspired by a biological system at the behavioral level. Using studies of the gannet from the family of Sulidæ, sequences of two-dimensional visual signals are interpreted to guide a monocular robot arm in three-dimensional space, without using models of the visual sensor nor the robot arm.

Exploration of the control of robot arms is continued in Chapter 4, Inverse Kinematics of Dextrous Manipulators, by David DeMers and Kenneth Kreutz-Delgado. The chapter gives an overview of neural and non-neural methods to solve the inverse kinematics problem: Given an end-effector position and orientation, how should one move a robot arm (in a most efficient way) to reach that position/orientation?

The theoretically inclined Chapter 5, Stable Manipulator Trajectory Control Using Neural Networks, by Yichuang Jin, Tony Pipe, and Alan Winfield, describes neural network approaches for trajectory following of a robot arm. The key issue here is how to improve the accuracy of the followed trajectory when the dynamic model of the robot arm is inaccurate.

Studies of sensory motor control in biological organisms and robots are presented in Chapter 6, The Neural Dynamics Approach to Sensory-Motor Control, by Paolo Gaudiano, Frank Guenther, and Eduardo Zalama. It extensively discusses neural network models developed at Boston University’s Center for Adaptive Systems. The neural models are used in two applications: trajectory following of a mobile robot, and controlling the motor skills required for speech reproduction using auditory-orosensory feedback.

Biomorphic robots are discussed in Chapter 7, Operant Conditioning in Robots, by Andreas Bühlmeier and Gerhard Manteuffel. In their overview chapter, they discuss neural systems which maintain homeostasis for (mobile) robot systems. After discussing neural learning systems with neuro-physiological backgrounds, a survey of several implementations on mobile robots, which have to learn to navigate between obstacles, is given.

In Chapter 8, A Dynamic Net for Robot Control, by Bridget Hallam, John Hallam, and Gillian Hayes, a neural model, designed for explaining various learning phenomena from animal literature, is used to control a mobile robot.

The navigation of mobile robots using artificial neural networks is covered in Chapter 9, Neural Vehicles, by Ben Kröse and Joris van Dam. The authors make the distinction between reactive navigation, planned navigation in known environments, and map building from sensor signals.

In the final chapter, Self-Organization and Autonomous Robots, Jukka Heikkonen and Pasi Koikkalainen describe the use of self-organizing maps for reactive control of mobile robots.

Putting together a book like this requires the cooperation of a large group of people. The anonymous reviewers remain unmentioned; so, first of all, the patience and cooperation of the authors has to be acknowledged. Of great importance was the support, inspiration, and help of the Institute of Robotics and System Dynamics at the German Aerospace Research Establishment (DLR) in Oberpfaffenhofen; especially the unprecedented support of prof. dr. Gerd Hirzinger has been key in the production of this volume. Last but not least, none of this would be there without Britta Platt, whose support is without end. This volume is dedicated to her.

Editor

Patrick van der Smagt

Series Editor

Omid Omidvar

1

Neural Network Sonar as a Perceptual Modality for Robotics

Itiel E. Dror, Mark Zagaeski, Damien Rios and Cynthia F. Moss

ABSTRACT

Sonar (SOund NAvigation Ranging) employs a transmitter to generate an acoustic signal and a receiver to register echoes returning from objects in the path of the sound beam. Sonar has been extensively used in robotics for object detection, ranging, and avoidance. However, such applications represent a limited use of sonar, as they do not exploit the full range of information carried by the sonar echoes. This is evidenced by the remarkable perceptual capabilities of echolocating bats, who demonstrate that sonar can convey detailed information about the environment. In this chapter we present data showing that a relatively simple neural network sonar system can perform complex pattern recognition tasks, and propose that sonar has great potential usefulness for robotics. We suggest that sonar has applications in robotics not only for detection of objects and ranging, but also for gathering detailed information about these objects. We begin the chapter with a brief description of the current use of sonar in robotics, and a short tutorial on the bat biosonar system. We then present neural network sonar systems that recognize faces and objects independent of perceptual variations, and a neural network sonar system that can recognize the speed of a moving target based on a single echo.

1.1 Use of Sonar in Robotics

Mobile robots need to navigate in an unpredictable and hazardous world. They must be able to detect obstacles in their path and avoid them. Sonar has been a useful tool for obstacle avoidance; using an ultrasonic ranging system (originally developed by Polaroid for focusing cameras), robots can easily detect the presence of obstacles. The system transmits an ultrasonic pulse from an electrostatic transducer and measures the time it takes for an echo to return. If no echo returns within a given time window, then the robot may continue along its path unobstructed. If, however, there is an echo, then the robot registers the presence of an obstacle and can alter its movement accordingly.

Many robot systems employ sonar for obstacle avoidance. For example, CARMEL (Computer Aided Robotics for Maintenance, Emergency, and Life support) uses a ring of 24 Polaroid sonar sensors to avoid obstacles. However, in this system the use of sonar is limited to obstacle avoidance, and a video camera is used for object recognition.

Polaroid manufactures ultrasonic electrostatic transducers, which can be driven by a variety of modules (e.g., Polaroid sonar ranging module 6500 series, Texas Instruments sonar ranging module SN 28827). A single electrostatic transducer functions as a microphone as well as a speaker; the circuitry generates a broadband chirp which is transmitted through the speaker, and the residual charge left on the capacitance of the speaker provides the high-voltage polarization necessary for it to perform as a condenser microphone and receive the returning echo. The transducer emits a 1-ms ultrasonic chirp, which may contain frequencies as low as 49.4 kHz and as high as 60 kHz. These range-finding modules can work in a single-echo mode, in which only the first returning echo is registered and processed, or in a multiple-echo mode, in which multiple returning echoes (from multiple targets at different distances) are registered and processed.

The Polaroid sonar ranging system uses 12 gain steps on the receiver that are incremented as the echo delay increases; this mechanism allows for a more constant signal-to-noise ratio as the target distance increases and the echo amplitude decreases. The Polaroid system can detect the range of an object from approximately 15 cm to approximately 11 m with an accuracy of 1%. It is low in cost, highly reliable, and easily interfaced with robotics systems. Hence, it provides a convenient tool to give a robot range information about its surroundings.

1.2 Echolocating Bats

Bats are flying mammals that use a biological sonar system to navigate and hunt insects in the dark [9]. As in artificial sonar systems, their biosonar comprises two components: a transmitter (the bat’s vocal apparatus) and a receiver (the bat’s auditory system). The time delay between the emitted sound and its returning echo indicates the range to a target (a use for sonar that is widely implemented in robotics, as described earlier). However, research on echolocating bats has shown that sonar echoes can convey much more information about a target than just its range. Bats can discriminate between targets that differ in shape, size, and movement [6, 29, 31, 32]. There are about 700 species of echolocating bats, and their sonar signals vary widely. The signals used by different bat species appear to reflect the ecological demands on their sonar systems [21]. Some echolocating bat species emit constant-frequency (CF) echolocation sounds, whereas other species use primarily frequency-modulated (FM) sounds.

The big brown bat, Eptesicus fuscus, changes the characteristics of its FM sounds as it pursues an insect, presumably to enhance specific information it is seeking at different points during this pursuit sequence [16, 29]. While it is searching for a target it emits a cry with shallow frequency modulation, sweeping from about 28 kHz down to about 22 kHz in 5–20 ms. When the bat detects a target, it broadens the bandwidth and shortens the duration of its cry. Sounds emitted during this approach phase of insect pursuit consist of a fundamental which sweeps from about 50 kHz down to 25 kHz in 1–3 ms and higher harmonics, yielding a total bandwidth of over 75 kHz. During the final phase of insect pursuit, as the bat closes in and intercepts its prey, the bandwidth and duration of the sonar emission decreases.

By changing the features of its sonar sounds systematically as it approaches an insect, the bat is able to gather the information it needs, while also meeting the changing constraints on its echolocation system (e.g., the shorter delay requires a shorter duration sound to avoid emission-echo overlap [2]). During the search phase, the relatively narrowband, long-duration sounds maximize the energy within a given frequency band, which enhances the likelihood of detecting a faint target echo. As the bat approaches a target and needs to identify it, the broader band sounds can carry more detailed information about the shape of the target in the returning echoes. Finally, when the bat is about to intercept the insect, the short, rapidly repeated sounds provide the bat with brief, frequent samples of the insect’s position, and allow it to compensate for any last-minute evasive maneuvers the insect might make [24]. In addition to these changes in the bandwidth and duration of their echolocation cries, bats also modify the amplitude of their cries as they approach a target, in a manner similar to the Polaroid ranging system described in the last section. Hartley [13] observed that bats decrease the amplitude of their emitted cries at short distances to a target, compensating for increase of the echo amplitude as the distance decreased. For a detailed discussion of the composition of sonar echoes used by echolocating bats for target recognition, see Simmons et al. [30].

1.3 Neural Network Models of Biosonar

Neural networks have been applied to the study of biological sonar. One sonar neural network system was required to recognize a cube and a tetrahedron independent of orientation [4]. The neural network was first trained on a set of 160 echoes of both shapes in different orientations, and then was required to generalize and recognize the shapes from novel orientations. The network reached performance levels of 95% accuracy in recognizing the shapes at novel orientation. The network used broadband frequency-modulated (FM) sounds similar to those used by the big brown bat, Eptesicus fuscus, during the approach phase of target pursuit [10, 16]. In their study, Dror et al. manipulated the input representation to the neural network in order to explore how target shape may be encoded in the echoes. They found that a spectrogram representation of the echoes conveyed the shape information most efficiently. The network was able to recognize the shapes using a power spectrum representation as well; however, its performance was not as high as that when the spectrogram representation was used. Furthermore, by passing the echoes through lowpass and highpass filters, they showed that the first harmonic (with a bandwidth of roughly 50 to 25 kHz) or the second harmonic (with a bandwidth of roughly 100 to 50 kHz) of the spectrogram and the power spectrum representations alone conveyed sufficient information for shape recognition. When time waveform and cross-correlation representations were used, however, the network failed to learn the task altogether.

In another air sonar neural network, more complex shapes were used, as well as a larger number of targets [3]. In this study, neural networks were trained to recognize faces which varied in their facial expressions, and to recognize the gender of faces. After training, the performance of the networks was evaluated on their ability to recognize the faces when they were presented with a novel facial expression (one that was not included during training). The networks were able to learn to recognize five faces with almost perfect accuracy (above 96%) and to correctly recognize gender (with accuracy levels of 88%).

Other neural network studies modeled the underwater sonar system of dolphins, animals that use brief clicks for echolocation. Although underwater sonar operates under different constraints than sonar in air [1], it is worth considering such neural networks as they may provide ideas useful for constructing air sonar neural network systems suitable for robotics. Gorman and Sejnowski were the first to construct such a network [8]. They trained a network to discriminate between underwater echoes from a metal cylinder and a rock and found that increasing the number of hidden units in their network improved the rate of learning the training set. However, such an increase improved the performance on the novel orientations only up to some peak level. After reaching this performance level, further increases in the number of hidden units produced no further improvement, and in some cases even degraded the network’s ability to generalize to novel orientations. Gorman and Sejnowski’s network performed better than a nearest-neighbor classifier, and achieved a performance level almost as high as an optimal decision rule for maximizing the probability of correct classification.

Roitblat et al. [25] trained a network to recognize underwater echoes from a plastic tube, a stainless steel sphere, and an aluminum cone. They trained a backpropagation and a counterpropagation network on the same task, and compared their efficiency for learning and performing sonar tasks. The counterpropagation network [14, 15] used two distinct modes of mapping that occurred at two successive stages. The first type of association partitioned the input echoes into categories derived by the network, and occurred only between the input layer and the Kohonen layer. Such a partitioning is achieved by a process whereby the Kohonen units compete for learning and thus form a self-organizing classifier [17]. Competition for learning was implemented by having the Kohonen units use an activation function that produces either 0 or 1, and by enabling only a winning unit to adjust weights. Once the Kohonen layer stabilized, then the Grossberg layers could begin the second type of mapping. This mapping associated the activation of the Kohonen units to output units, and was achieved by an outstart structure [11, 12].

The backpropagation network learned to map the echoes to shapes by backward propagation of the error in the output layer. All connections were modified proportionally to the gradient of the error with respect to the weights and activations in the network, so as to minimize global error. Roitblat et al. [25] found that both the backpropagation and the counterpropagation networks recognized the targets with almost perfect accuracy, thus providing evidence that various types of neural networks are able to simulate sonar target recognition.

Moore et al. [18] explored the importance of using multiple successive echoes. Their network used an integrator layer to accumulate information from multiple echoes reflected from a target. A gateway layer reset the integrator layer at the beginning of each sequence of echoes. Although a relatively small training set was used for the learning, the network was able to correctly recognize about 90% of the echoes that were not presented during the training; however, such echoes were obtained from the same orientation as those in the training set. Thus, using multiple successive echoes enables the network to use a very small training set.

In short, a variety of approaches have shown that neural network sonar systems are capable of performing complex shape recognition. Thus, the echo returning from a target not only encodes the presence of a target and its distance, but the echo carries information regarding the shape of the target; and such information can be decoded by neural network systems. Sonar echoes are not even limited to carrying range and shape information; as we have already pointed out, bat research has demonstrated that sonar echoes can convey rich information about many other target features. In the next section we will present a neural network sonar system that can recognize the speed of a rotating blade based on information contained in a single echo.

1.4 A Neural Network That Recognizes Speed of Movement

Echolocating bats may recognize insects by their shape; however, bats may also recognize insects by their wingbeat rate [6, 27]. Indeed, laboratory studies have shown that bats can discriminate between different simulated wingbeats rates [6, 19, 26, 32]. The duration of a wingbeat cycle in most insect species falls between 20 and 50 ms; however, the sounds used by FM bats during the approach phase of insect pursuit are typically only 2–4 ms in duration; i.e., the sonar sound duration is only a fraction of the insect’s wingbeat cycle. Thus, bats may be able to recognize a fluttering insect based on a stroboscopic sequence of single echoes that are reflected off the insect’s wings as it flies [20].

We constructed a sonar neural network system to explore whether a single echo can carry detailed information about movement. As described here, we collected echoes from a wingbeat simulator and trained a neural network to discriminate between different rates of movement based on a single echo. We then examined whether the network could recognize the motion rate of the simulator based on a single echo that was not included in the training set.

1.4.1 Methods

A moving target was constructed to simulate the fluttering wings of an insect. Two brass blades (15 × 27 mm) were attached at right angles to a shaft (the end of the blade was mounted so it was 37 mm from the axis of the shaft), which was driven by a feedback-controlled variable-speed electric motor (see Figure 1.1). The motor and shaft were hidden from the sound beam by acoustic foam, so that only one blade was exposed at a time through a 2 × 3 cm window. The rate at which the blades rotated (simulated wingbeat rate) was controlled by the experimenter, ranging from 0 to 50 Hz (accuracy > 0.1 Hz). The moving target was ensonified with ultrasonic pulses synthesized to mimic the echolocation cries of the big brown bat, Eptesicus fuscus, during the approach phase of the insect pursuit sequence (see introduction). Echoes from the rotating blades of the moving target were recorded in a large room, approximately 5.5 × 5.5 × 2.5 m, whose walls were covered with sound-attenuation foam.

FIGURE 1.1 Schematic of apparatus used to record echoes from the wingbeat simulator. A single rotating blade was revealed to the speaker and microphone through a small window. The speaker broadcast 1-ms frequency-modulated sounds sweeping from 100 to 25 kHz in two harmonics. Echoes from the rotating blade at a variety of orientations were recorded on an analog tape and digitized offline.

Digitally synthesized sonar sounds were played out through an ultrasonic transducer directed at the rotating blades of the wingbeat simulator. Time waveform and spectrogram representations of this signal are shown in Figure 1.2. For each simulated wingbeat rate, the returning echoes were received by an ultrasonic microphone and recorded at high-speed on analog tape. These recorded echoes were then digitized at a sample rate of 200 kHz, and a total of 900 echoes from each wingbeat rate were used in the study. For each wingbeat rate that we recorded, 825 were randomly chosen for the training set, 25 were chosen for cross-validation, and the remaining 50 echoes were used in the test set to examine the network for generalization.

FIGURE 1.2 The sonar signal used in this study. The top panel shows the time waveform, and the bottom panel shows a spectrogram (frequency vs. time) representation of the sound.

After we finished a first set of recordings of wingbeat rates of 10, 20, 29, and 30 Hz, we observed that the motor driving the propeller blade produced different sounds depending on the speed. Indeed, behavioral studies have shown that bats can use the sounds produced by the motor driving the rotating blades to discriminate rotation speeds. This passive listening cue was eliminated in behavioral studies with bats by playing broadband noise that masked the sounds generated by the apparatus. With broadband masking noise, bats learned to rely on echolocation to perform the task [19]. Although the motor noise did not overlap the frequency range of our ultrasonic echoes, to make sure that our neural network did not use the motor sounds as cues to recognize the speed of the motor, we made additional recordings of the echoes from the wingbeat simulator while masking the motor sounds with broadband white noise from 0 to 20 kHz. We proceeded to record echoes from the wingbeat simulator at speeds of 5, 10, 20, and 30 Hz, in the presence of the masking noise.

The echoes were presented to the network as spectrograms representing the instantaneous frequency composition of the echo as a function of time. A 240-element input vector was arranged as a matrix of 20 frequency bins by 12 time bins. The frequency range spanned the bandwidth from 22 to 81 kHz, including most of the energy of the synthesized echolocation sound, and the time duration was 1.2 ms centered on the echo. We chose to use this representation based on our previous work showing that echo spectrograms were very efficient in conveying target information [3, 4]. The strength of each input element was then normalized relative to the maximum valued element from the entire echo set. We appended two elements to this input vector to represent the rotation rate of the propeller, which provided the network with the desired output vector during training.

1.4.2 Results

Without Noise

We begin by describing the results obtained from the echo recordings which were made without the masking noise (see the methods section). The network was able to learn to discriminate between propellers rotating at 10 and 30 Hz. The network learned the training set in 240 epochs, as determined by the cross-validation set. At 240 epochs the mean pattern sum of squares (pss) for the training set was 0.1884 [310.921 total sum of squares (tss)]. When we presented the network with the test set containing only novel echoes (echoes not included in the training set), the network was able to generalize and correctly identified 86% of the novel echoes. The mean output activation for the correctly identified echoes was 〈0.15, 0.84〉 for the 10-Hz echoes and 〈0.90, 0.09〉 for the 30-Hz echoes. The mean pss for the testing set was 0.1847 (18.4704 tss).

The network was also able to learn to discriminate between 20- and 30-Hz propeller rotation rates; however, it required more epochs to do so than when it learned to discriminate 10 and 30 Hz. The network now took 1600 epochs to learn the training set, as determined by the cross-validation set. At 1600 epochs the mean pss for the training set was 0.0001 (0.1234 tss). When we presented the testing set, the network was able to generalize and correctly identify 100% of the novel echoes. The mean output activation for the correctly identified echoes was 〈0.01, 0.99〉 for the 20-Hz echoes and 〈0.98, 0.00〉 for the 30-Hz echoes. The mean pss for the testing set was 0 (0.0067

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