Human-Multirobot Collaborative Mobile Manipulation: The Omnid Mocobots

Matthew L. Elwin*, Billie Strong, Randy A. Freeman, Kevin M. Lynch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The Omnid human-collaborative mobile manipulators are an experimental platform for testing control architectures for autonomous and human-collaborative multirobot mobile manipulation. An Omnid consists of a mecanum-wheel omnidirectional mobile base and a series-elastic Delta-type parallel manipulator, and it is a specific implementation of a broader class of mobile collaborative robots ('mocobots') suitable for safe human co-manipulation of delicate, flexible, and articulated payloads. Key features of mocobots include passive compliance, for the safety of the human and the payload, and high-fidelity end-effector force control independent of the potentially imprecise motions of the mobile base. We describe general considerations for the design of teams of mocobots; the design of the Omnids in light of these considerations; manipulator and mobile base controllers to achieve multirobot collaborative behaviors; and experiments in human-multirobot collaborative mobile manipulation of large and articulated payloads, where the mocobot team renders the payloads weightless for effortless human co-manipulation. In these experiments, the only communication among the humans and Omnids is mechanical, through the payload.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)376-383
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Robotics and Automation Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023


  • Swarm robotics
  • human-robot collaborative manipulation
  • multirobot systems
  • physical human-robot interaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Control and Optimization
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications


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