The Role of Closed-Loop Hand Control in Handshaking Interactions

In this paper we investigate the role of haptic feedback in human/robot handshaking by comparing different force controllers. The basic hypothesis is that in human handshaking force control there is a balance between an intrinsic (open--loop) and extrinsic (closed--loop) contribution. We use an underactuated anthropomorphic robotic hand, the Pisa/IIT hand, instrumented with a set of pressure sensors estimating the grip force applied by humans. In a first set of experiments we ask subjects to mimic a given force profile applied by the robot hand, to understand how human perceive and are able to reproduce a handshaking force.

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On the Role of Stiffness and Synchronization in Human-Robot Handshaking

This paper presents a system for soft human-robot handshaking, using a soft robot hand in conjunction witha lightweight and impedance-controlled robot arm. Using this system, we study how different factors influencethe perceived naturalness, and give the robot different personality traits. Capitalizing on recent findings regardinghandshake grasp force regulation, and on studies of the impedance control of the human arm, we investigate the roleof arm stiffness as well as the kinaesthetic synchronization of human and robot arm motions during the handshake.The system is implemented using a lightweight anthropomorphic arm, with a Pisa/IIT Softhand wearing a sensorizedsilicone glove as the end-effector.

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MakeSense: Automated Sensor Design for Proprioceptive Soft Robots

Soft robots have applications in safe human-robot interactions, manipulation of fragile objects, and locomotion in challenging and unstructured environments. In this paper, we present a computational method for augmenting soft robots with proprioceptive sensing capabilities. Our method automatically computes a minimal stretch-receptive sensor network to user-provided soft robotic designs, which is optimized to perform well under a set of user-specified deformation-force pairs. The sensorized robots are able to reconstruct their full deformation state, under interaction forces. We cast our sensor design as a sub-selection problem, selecting a minimal set of sensors from a large set of fabricable ones which minimizes the error when sensing specified deformation-force pairs. Unique to our approach is the use of an analytical gradient of our reconstruction performance measure with respect to selection variables. We demonstrate our technique on a bending bar and gripper example, illustrating more complex designs with a simulated tentacle.

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Vibration-Minimizing Motion Retargeting for Robotic Characters

Creating animations for robotic characters is very challenging due to the constraints imposed by their physical nature. In particular, the combination of fast motions and unavoidable structural deformations leads to mechanical oscillations that negatively affect their performances. Our goal is to automatically transfer motions created using traditional animation software to robotic characters while avoiding such artifacts.

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