Precise in-hand manipulation of soft objects using soft fingertips with tactile sensing and active deformation

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Title: Precise in-hand manipulation of soft objects using soft fingertips with tactile sensing and active deformation
Authors: Lu, Q
Liang, H
Nanayakkara, DPT
Rojas, N
Item Type: Conference Paper
Abstract: While soft fingertips have shown significant development for grasping tasks, its ability to facilitate the manipulation of objects within the hand is still limited. Thanks to elasticity, soft fingertips enhance the ability to grasp soft objects. However, the in-hand manipulation of these objects has proved to be challenging, with both soft fingertips and traditional designs, as the control of coordinated fine fingertip motions and uncertainties for soft materials are intricate. This paper presents a novel technique for in-hand manipulating soft objects with precision. The approach is based on enhancing the dexterity of robot hands via soft fingertips with tactile sensing and active shape changing; such that pressurized air cavities act as soft tactile sensors to provide closed loop control of fingertip position and avoid object’s damage, and pneumatic-tuned positive-pressure deformations act as a localized soft gripper to perform additional translations and rotations. We model the deformation of the soft fingertips to predict the in-hand manipulation of soft objects and experimentally demonstrate the resulting in-hand manipulation capabilities of a gripper of limited dexterity with an algorithm based on the proposed dual abilities. Results show that the introduced approach can ease and enhance the prehensile in-hand translation and rotation of soft objects for precision tasks across the hand workspace, without damage.
Date of Acceptance: 22-Jan-2020
Publisher: IEEE
Copyright Statement: This paper is embargoed until publication.
Sponsor/Funder: Engineering & Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC)
Funder's Grant Number: EP/R020833/1
Conference Name: IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics
Publication Status: Accepted
Start Date: 2020-08
Conference Place: New Haven, CT, USA
Embargo Date: publication subject to indefinite embargo
Appears in Collections:Dyson School of Design Engineering