As advances are made in robotic hardware, the capacity of the complexity of tasks they are capable of performing also increases. One goal of modern robotics is to introduce robotic platforms that require very little augmentation of their environments to be effective and robust. Therefore the challenge for the Roboticist is to develop algorithms and control strategies that leverage knowledge of the task while retaining the ability to be adaptive, adjusting to perturbations in the environment and task assumptions.
These strategies will be discussed in the context of a wet-lab robotic assistant. Motivated by collaborations with a local pharmaceutical company, we will explore two relevant tasks. First, we will discuss a robot-assisted rapid experiment preparation system for research and development scientists. Second, we will discuss ongoing work for intelligent human-robot cooperative transport with limited communication. These tasks are the beginning of a suite of abilities for an assisting robotic platform that can be transferred to similar applications useful to a diverse set of end-users.