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9
Chapter2
State-of-the-artinServiceRobotics
Thischapterpresentsthestate-of-the-artinservicerobotics.Becauseofthevaguedenitionof
servicerobots,thissummaryfocusesonavailablerobotsystemswithasimilarapplicationrange
thanthetwosystemsdevelopedwithinthisthesis:guidancerobotsandhome-carerobots.The
followingconstraintswereappliedtoselectthedescribedsystems:
 Therobotoperatesinindoorenvironments.
 Therobotismobileandmovesbasedonwheels.
 Therobot’ssizeallowstheusageinhomeorpublicenvironments.
 Therobot’sshapesupportstheimpressionofasmartindividual.
 Therobotserveshumansduringdailyactivities.
 Therobotinteractswithhumansinabidirectionalmanner.
 Therobot’sdevelopmentiscompletedoritisinthenalstepofdevelopment.
 Therobotisintendedtobeo-the-shelf.
Thepresentedrobotsystemsshouldgiveanoverviewofcurrentapplicationswithouttheclaim
of completeness. . Thedescriptionfocuses s ontechnicalrealizations (e.g.,drivesystem,sensor
conguration,computingpower,batterysystem).Unfortunately,detailsofreal-lifeapplications
arenotavailableformostsystemsandcanjustbeassumed(seeSection2.4).Arobotsystemfor
shoppingapplicationsthatwasdevelopedundersystemsengineeringaspectsisalsopresented.
Attheendofthischapter,theadvantagesanddisadvantagesofthesystemswillbesummarizes.
Other robotplatforms likethe PeopleBot t by y MobileRobots [Kuoet al.,2008]or ARTOS S by
theUniversity of Kaiserslautern[Berns andMehdi,2010]that couldbe usedfor professional
applicationsarenotcoveredbythischapterforreasonofclarity.
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10
CHAPTER2. STATE-OF-THE-ARTINSERVICEROBOTICS
2.1 InteractiveShoppingandGuidanceRobots
2.1.1 MuseumRobotsbyFraunhoferIPA
The Fraunhofer r Institute e for Manufacturing Engineering andAutomationIPA A has installed
threerobotsystems(Figure2.1)intheMuseumfurKommunikationBerlininMarch2000to
attract visitors andtodemonstrate the possibilities ofinteractive service robots. . The e three
robotsdierbytheirappearance,behavior,andspeechtogiveeverysystemitsownpersonality
[Graf etal.,2000]. . The e Inciting g welcomesvisitors s attheentrance oftheexhibitionandacts
asanentertainer. TheInstructive e givesguidedtoursinthemuseum. . Thisrobotisequipped
withascreenshowingvideosandpictures. TheTwiddling g isthechildofthe"robotfamily",is
unabletospeakandplayswithaball.
Figure2.1: RobotsintheMuseumfurKommunikationBerlin[FraunhoferIPA,2011].
All three robots s are e based d on a similar robot t platform. . This s platform m is s equipped d with a
dierentialdrivesystemwithtwodrivenwheelsandfourcastorwheels. Themaximumspeed
oftheplatformislimitedto1.2m/s. Thesensorycongurationoftheplatformisgivenbya2D
laserrangendertorecognizeobstaclesandvisitors,agyroscopetocomputethemovementof
therobot,abumpertosignalcollisions,severalinfraredsensorsfacingupwardstodetectpersons
intheoperating areaoftherobot,andemergency stopbuttonstodisablethedrive system.
Furthermore,amagnetsensorfacingtothegrounddetectsthemagnetbarriersintegratedinthe
oorandisusedtomaintaintherobotswithinthedenedoperatingarea. Thepowersupply
systemisabletooperatetheplatformabouttenhours.
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2.1. INTERACTIVESHOPPINGANDGUIDANCEROBOTS
11
Theoperationsystemoftherobotsiswelladaptedfortechnicallyunexperiencedusers.There-
fore,theuserinterfaceconsistsonlyofajoystickwithtwobuttons. Bythisjoysticktherobot
canbesetinoperation,shutdown,orstartedindierentoperationmodessuchasinitiallocal-
izationorself-test. Therobotguidesitsusersthroughtheoperationmodesbyspeechoutput
[GrafandBarth,2002].
SincetheinstallationoftherobotsystemsinMarch2000,therobotsworkeddaily.UntilApril
2004,therobotscoveredadistanceofmorethan12,700kmwithoutanydocumentedcollision
withvisitorsorinventory[Grafetal.,2004]. Therobotsneverlefttheiroperatingarea. This
high reliability y of the systems was achieved d by three factors: : The e usage of well-established
robottechnologyoftheinstitute,atestperiodoftwomonthsinthemuseumpriortosetting
therobotsintooperation,andawell-denedoperatingarea(comparedtotheenvironmentsof
homesorstores).
2.1.2 MonaandOskarbyFraunhoferIPA
The exhibition robots Mona a and d Oskar r (Figure e 2.2) ) were e also o designed d by the Fraunhofer
InstituteforManufacturingEngineeringandAutomationIPAincooperationwiththecompany
GPS GmbH,Germany y for the application n inthe Marken-undKommunikationszentrum der
AdamOpelAGBerlin[Neuner et al.,2003]. . Thetasks s of the robots were toinformandto
entertainguests inthe communication n center. . The e robots were ableto distinguish between
Figure2.2: ExhibitionrobotsMonaandOskar[FraunhoferIPA,2010].
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12
CHAPTER2. STATE-OF-THE-ARTINSERVICEROBOTICS
singlepersonsandgroupstoadapttheirspeechoutputs. Mona a -thefemalerobot-welcomed
visitors at theentranceandbrought themtothe exhibitionarea. . Oskar r -themalerobot t -
tookoverthevisitorsandexplainedtheexhibits. ThetworobotsoperatedfromOctober2003
untilOctober2004andweretestedfortwoweeksbeforetheyweresetinoperation. Therobots
wereabletoautonomouslyshutdownandrestartthemselvestoreducethesupervisionbythe
employees. Moreover,functionalitieslikeremoteaccessandself-diagnosticssimpliedtheusage
oftherobotsfortheoperator[Grafetal.,2004].
Similar to therobots installedintheMuseum m fur r KommunikationBerlin, , Mona a andOskar
werebasedonadierentialplatformwithtwodrivenandthreecastorwheels. Themaximum
speedwaslimitedto0.4m/s.Duetoeight12Vbatteries,therobotsoperateduptotenhours.
Thesensorcongurationincludedtwolaserrangenders,eightultrasonicsensorsplacedabove
thelaser rangenders,afoamplastic bumper,andtwoemergencystopbuttons. . Additional
magnetsensors,facingtothe oor,detectedtheedgesoftheoperationarea. Bothrobotswere
equippedwithatouchscreenandloudspeakerstoprovidevisualandaudioinformationtothe
users.
2.1.3 RoboXbyBlueBotics
Figure2.3: Exhibitionsystem
RoboX[Tomatisetal.,2003].
The swiss s company BlueBotics s in n cooperation with h the e Au-
tonomous Systems s Labofthe e Swiss FederalInstitute of Tech-
nologyLausannehasdevelopedtherobotsystemRoboX forthe
Expo.02 in Switzerland (Figure e 2.3). . Eleven n robots operated
about 159 days from m May 15 to October 20 at t the exhibition
[Tomatisetal.,2003].Thegoalofthisapplicationwastopresent
thecurrentstateofroboticstechnologytotheexhibitionvisitors.
Therobotsaimedtoattracttheattentionofvisitors,interacted
withthemviainputbuttonsandspeechoutput,andgaveapre-
denedguidedtour.
Anexhibitionrobothastofulllthreemainrequirements:First,
it must operate autonomously (includingself-tests, , shut-down,
andrestart)onalonglivecycle.Thisshouldminimizethesuper-
visionbytheexhibitionemployees. Second,therobotshouldbe
self-containedandeasily adaptabletootherapplications. . This
helps to minimize theeort for installingthesystems intothe
operating place. . Finally, , therobot t should d be able torobustly
navigateincrowdedareas.
TheRoboX systemsarebasedonadierentialdrivenplatform
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2.1. INTERACTIVESHOPPINGANDGUIDANCEROBOTS
13
with one castor r wheel l at t the front t and one e castor r wheel at t the backside of the robot. . For
arobust movementofthefour wheeledrobot,theback-side castor wheelwasmountedona
springsuspension. Therobotbasehasadiameterof65cm[Jensenetal.,2002]andconsistsof
batteries,twocontrolcomputers,twolaser rangenders,eightindependentbumpers,andan
emergencystopbutton. Theupperpartoftherobotincorporatestheinteractionsystemwith
two independenteyes, mountedonpan-tilt units,two coupledeyebrows, anda simpleinput
device. The e left eyeis s equippedwitha a smallcolor camera for face detection andtracking,
whereas the e right eye includes s a a Light-Emitting Diode (LED) ) matrix x showing symbols s and
icons.Theeyebrowscanbetiltedtoindicatefacialexpressions. Theinputdeviceoftherobot,
informoffourbuttons,allowstheusertoreplytoquestionsbypressingoneofthesebuttons.
Anotheroptionalinputdeviceisanomni-directionalmicrophonearray,whichcanbeusedfor
speechrecognition. Thewholesystemis s about1.65mhighandiscapableofoperatingupto
twelvehours.
TheelevenrobotsattheExpo.02drove3,316kmin159daysonanoperationsurfaceof320m
2
.
Therobotsservedmorethan680,000visitorsinatotalof13,313hours.
2.1.4 GilbertobyBlueBotics
Gilberto (Figure e 2.4b) is s another example e of an interactive service robot by BlueBotics. . It
was originally designedtobe usedattrainstations inItaly,but is alsointendedto be used
at airports, , museums,exhibitions, tradefairs,andmarketingevents s [Bluebotics SA, , 2011a].
The robot t has s the same platform m as RoboX X (section n 2.1.3) ) and, , therefore, similar r technical
parameters. Themaindierencesaretheintegratedtouchdisplayforuserinteractionandthe
adapteddesignwithaheightof2mandadiameterof0.8m. Therobotisabletodrivewitha
speedofupto0.6m/sandtooperateuptoeighthours[BlueboticsSA,2011b].
2.1.5 REEM-H2byPALRobotics
TheservicerobotREEM-H2 (Figure2.4a),developedbytheSpanishcompanyPALRobotics,
was introducedbytheendof2010[PALROBOTICSS.L,2010a]. . This s robotwas developed
toguideandentertainvisitorsinmalls,hotels,exhibitions,airports,orhospitals. Thedesign
of therobot incorporates adepositionrack and enables thetransport of smallobjects. . The
integratedarmscanbeusedtoshowdirections,togesticulate,ortoliftobjectsupto3kg.The
robotisequippedwithsoftwarefunctionalitiesforautonomousnavigationaswellasvoiceand
facerecognitionusableforhumanlikerobotinteraction. Theintegrated12inchtouchdisplay
allowsforthepresentationofmultimediainformationandusersinput.
Theheightoftherobotis1.70manditsweight90kg. Itcandrivewithspeedsupto1.2m/s.
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14
CHAPTER2. STATE-OF-THE-ARTINSERVICEROBOTICS
(a) REEM-H2
(b) Gilberto
(c) ME-470
Figure2.4: Guidingrobots: (a)HumanoidservicerobotREEM-H2byPALRobotics[PAL
ROBOTICSS.L,2010b],(b)Mobileentertainmentrobot GilbertobyBlueBotics[Bluebotics
SA,2011a],and(c)InteractiveshoppingguideME-470byNeobotix[GPSGmbH,2011].
Theintegratedlithiumbatterycanpowertherobotuptoeighthours.Thesensorconguration
consistsofalaserrangender,ultrasonicsensors,astereocamera,microphones,accelerometers,
and gyroscopes. . Anembedded d PC withanIntel Core-2 Duo processor r and d an Atom CPU
executessoftwarealgorithmsanduserapplications[PALROBOTICSS.L,2010b].
2.1.6 ME-470byNeobotix
The German company y Neobotix developed the e interactive e shopping guide ME-470 0 (Figure
2.4c)toattractvisitorsatexhibitionsandtradefairs[GPSGmbH,2011].Itisdesignedtoshow
presentations, picture, videos, games, or websites s ona 12inch h touchdisplay, located at t the
upperpartoftherobot’sbody. Therobotheadcontainsan8inchtouchdisplaytosimulatea
robotfaceandtoexpressemotions.Therotatableheadisfurtherequippedwithasoundsystem
includingmicrophonesandspeakers. Thecasingoftherobotcanbeadaptedtotherequestsof
customers. Theintegrationoflighteectsfurtherincreasestheattractionofattention.
Therobotplatformcontainsadierentialdrivewithtwospring-mounteddrivenwheelsatthe
centerline oftherobotandfour castor wheels. . Therobot t isabletodriveupto1.0m/s. . A
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2.2. HOMEASSISTANTROBOTS
15
24Vbatterywith152Ahcanpower therobotforabout tenhours. . The e sensorconguration
isgivenbyalaser rangender,fourultrasonicsensors,andawideanglecamera. . Toexecute
usersoftware,therobotis equippedwithanembeddedPCwithan1.8GHzAtomDual-Core
processor.Theheightoftherobotis174cm,theoverallweightisabout185kg.
2.2 HomeAssistantRobots
2.2.1 KompaibyRobosoft
Figure 2.5: : Homecarerobot
Kompai[RobosoftSA,2011]
TherobotKompai (Figure2.5)wasdevelopedby thecompany
Robosoftasahomecaresystem. Therobotisintendedtosup-
port people in scheduling g their tasks, , reminding g to take e their
medicines,orthecreationofshoppinglists[RobosoftSA,2011].
It provides Internet access for email, , social networks, or r video
conferences. Anotherapplicationisthereceptionandguidance
ofvisitors atexhibitionsandmuseums. . Therobotcanbecon-
trolledremotelyordriveautonomouslytogivenpositions. Voice
recognitionandspeechsynthesissimplifytheuserinteraction.
Therobotplatformconsistsofadierentialdrivewithtwodriven
wheelsatthecenterlineandone castor wheelatthefront and
oneatthebackside.Therobotbasehasafootprintof45cmby
40cmandaweightof25kg.Thesensorcongurationoftherobot
includes a laser range nder, , infrared sensors s for obstacle and
stairwaydetection,ultrasonicsensors,microphones,andcamera
systems. For r user interaction a a tablet PC C is attached d to the
platform.
2.2.2 Care-O-Bot3byFraunhoferIPA
ThethirdgenerationoftheCare-O-Botsystems(Figure2.6)wasdesignedtosupportthenursing
staattimeconsumingtasks. Thefunctionalitiesmainlyconsideredduringthedevelopment
processincludedtransportationandcatering.Therefore,therstmissionscenariooftherobot
was toprepareandtoservedrinks. . This s requirestheaccomplishment ofthefollowingtasks:
oer adrink onatouchscreen,drivetoabar,detectthecorrectbottle,taketherecognized
bottleandplaceitonatray,openacupboard,takeaglassoutofthecupboardandplaceiton
thetray,drivebacktotheuser,anddeliverthedrinktotheuser[Reiseretal.,2009b].
16
CHAPTER2. STATE-OF-THE-ARTINSERVICEROBOTICS
Figure2.6: ResearchplatformCare-O-bot3:Leftsideillustratesrstdesignconcepts[Reiser
etal.,2009a].Rightsideshowsthenalrealization[Care-o-Bot,2011].
Tobeabletofulllthesecomplextasks,theCare-O-Bot3 wasequippedwithhighlyadvanced
technology. A A good maneuverability was enabled by y the integration n of f an n omni-directional
drive system m based on four wheels [Reiser et t al., , 2009a]. . For r every wheel, , the e orientation
anddrivingspeedcanbesetindependently;thisallowsforforward,backward,sideward,and
rotationmovements. The e robot base, with a rectangular shape of 60cmby 60cm, consists
ofa lithiumionbattery with50Vand60Ah,alaser rangender,andanembeddedPCfor
navigationpurpose. Thetorsooftherobotisequippedwithelectronicmodulesandasecond
embeddedPCforrobotcontrol. ItfurtherincludesstereocamerasandaTimeofFlight(TOF)
camera,whicharemountedonasensorheadunitwith5-DegreesofFreedom(DOF)toenable
thepositioningofthesensors inthedirectionofinterest. . Themovablecoverofthetorsocan
beusedtoshowgestures(e.g.,bow,nod,orheadshaking). For r themanipulationofobjects,
alight-weight robotarmwith7-DOFis integrated. . Additionally,a a 7-DOF handis installed
tograbobjects. Integratedtouchsensorsinthengersallowforaforce-controlledgraspingof
breakableobjects,likeglasses.Finally,thetiltabletraywithanintegratedtouchscreencanbe
usedtotransportsmallobjectsandtoexchangeinformationwithusers.
2.2.3 LunabyRoboDynamics
Another example e of a service robot for r the e home environment is Luna a (Figure2.7), , afully
programmable personal robot developedby RoboDynamics. . Thecompany y aspires towidely
distributetherobottohomeapplications basedontwomainaspects: : anadequatepriceand
anopensoftwarearchitecture [Ackermanand Guizzo, 2011]. . The e sales price of the robotis
plannedto be about 1,000 dollar (rst versions willbe sold for r 3,000 0 dollar). . This s concept
promisesextensivesalestoprivatepersons. Thesoftwarearchitectureisdesignedtoenablean
2.3. SERVICEROBOTSUNDERSYSTEMSENGINEERINGASPECTS
17
Figure 2.7: : PersonalrobotLunabyRoboDynamics[SchultzeWORKSDesignstudio,2011].
easycreationofnewapplicationsthatmightbeavailableinsoftwarestores.
Theplatformhasadiameterof56cm,aheightof157cm,andaweightof30kg.Theintegrated
batterieswith12Vand26Ahcansupplytherobotbetweenfourandeighthours. Thehuman-
robotinteractionis basedonan8inchtouchdisplaylocatedintherobot’s face. . Thesensor
congurationisgivenbyahigh-resolutioncamerawithadigitalzoom,amicrophonearray,and
a3D-sensor. TherobotisequippedwithaPCincludinganAtomDualCoreprocessor.
2.3 ServiceRobotsunderSystemsEngineeringAspects
Theshopping,guidance,andhome-carerobotsdescribedinprevioussectionsarecomplexsys-
tems. Yet,hardly y any designprocess of thesesystems hasbeendocumented d andis s publicly
accessible.Onesystemwhosedevelopmenthasbeendescribedistheshoppingcartrobotofthe
18
CHAPTER2. STATE-OF-THE-ARTINSERVICEROBOTICS
CommRob project. . Here,thisrobotwillbelistedanddescribed,althoughthissystemhasnot
beenmeanttobeareal-lifeapplicationbutratheraplatformfortheresearchonhuman-robot
interaction inpublic areas. . The e designof this autonomous shoppingcart aimedtointeract
withtheuserinmultipleways(e.g.,guidanceorproductadvertisement). Therobotplatform
hasbeenappliedforthedevelopmentofstrategiestosafelymoveindynamicenvironments,to
detectandavoidobstacles,andforrobustlocalization.
Figure2.8: ShoppingcartoftheCommRobproject[CommRob,2010].
ThedevelopmentprocessofthisrobotsystemwasorientedonthestructureoftheWaterfall-
Model(Section3.2)incombinationwithiterativeelements.Itstartedwiththespecicationof
aninitialversionofuserandsystemrequirementsbasedontheprojectproposal.Theserequire-
mentsevolvedduringthecourseoftheproject,becauseofitsresearchcharacter. Considering
thespecications (and d theexperiences s fromprevious developments of the project partners),
thesystemarchitecturewas dened. . Thedecompositionprocessdividedthesystemintosub-
systems,whichwererealizedinthefollowing.Finally,thedevelopedsub-systemswereassembled
tothecompleterobotsystem.Thecourseofthisdevelopmentprocesswascarriedoutinmajor
iterations(atsystemlevel)andminoriterations(atsub-systemlevel),whichwerearrangedto
adaptthesystemrequirementsandtoredesignsystemcomponents[CommRob,2009].
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