Making the Most of Minimalism in Distributed Manipulation
Auditorium (NSH 1305)
Refreshments 3:15 pm
Talk 3:30 pm
Distributed manipulation involves manipulating objects through many points of contact, or even a continuum of contact. Typical work in this field involves planar manipulation of an object using distributed traction forces. This provides great flexibility and power in manipulation for both single and multiple objects, but poses two problems: 1) How to produce the large number of forces required, and 2) How to decide what to do with the huge number of input degrees of freedom. Much work has been done towards answering each of these questions, although typically in a way which requires a huge number of independently controlled actuators. This talk focuses both on methods of producing planar force fields which are useful for manipulation and simple to implement in hardware. The first part describes the use of planar air flow fields for object manipulation which relies on the natural shape of flow fields from a small number of flow generators. While the shapes of the resulting fields must respect the flow dynamics, a class of useful fields for manipulation can be generated, albeit with multiple equilibria. Sequences of these fields can bring planar objects to an equilibrium pose without sensors. The second part of the talk describes the class of quadratic potential fields, with a host of useful properties such as reduced number of equilibria, independence of object shape, and ease of prediction of equilibrium pose under operations such as superposition of fields. Until recently, however, there was no method, short of an array of independently controlled actuators, to implement these fields. By examining the divergence properties of quadratic fields, and of the type of planar air flow fields generated in the first part of this talk, a method of producing quadratic fields with simple shaped regions of airflow is developed. These methods are extended to applications involving the superposition of manipulation fields for more flexible manipulation including manipulating along trajectories. The third part of this talk examines methods of using electric fields through delectrophoretic forces to produce similar fields both in 2-D and 3-D on a near-micro scale.
Jonathan Luntz obtained his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering
from the State University of New York at