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Preface - Pg. xv

xv Preface According to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), "a service robot is a robot which operates semi or fully autonomously to perform services useful to the well being of human and equipment, ex- cluding manufacturing operations." Service is the task that characterizes this class of robots as very different from conventional industrial robots. Service is mainly devoted to benefits for humans and therefore it is identified with features of human-machine interactions and variety of operations. These two aspects have stimulated a great atten- tion in the last decade both in research for design and in practice for applications. Those activities are still growing and the fecundity of output yields an optimistic future of developments. Human-machine interactions involve issues of comfort and safety both for humans and robotic ma- chines. Safety issues have also stimulated the need of codes and standards both for general frames and