Predicting Grasp Success with a Soft Sensing Skin and Shape-Memory Actuated Gripper

Julian Zimmer, Tess Hellebrekers, Tamim Asfour, Carmel Majidi and Oliver Kroemer
Conference Paper, Proceedings of (IROS) IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, November, 2019

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Tactile sensors have been increasingly used to sup- port rigid robot grippers in object grasping and manipulation. However, rigid grippers are often limited in their ability to handle compliant, delicate, or irregularly shaped objects. In recent years, grippers made from soft and flexible materials have become increasingly popular for certain manipulation tasks, e.g., grasping, due to their ability to conform to the object shape without the need for precise control. Although promising, such soft robot grippers currently suffer from the lack of available sensing modalities. In this work, we introduce a soft and stretchable sensing skin and incorporate it into the two fingers of a shape-memory actuated soft gripper. The on- board sensing skin includes a 9-axis inertial measurement unit (IMU) and five discrete pressure sensors per finger. We use this sensorized soft gripper to study grasp success and stability of over 2585 grasps with various objects using several machine learning methods. Our experiments show that LSTMs were the most accurate predictors of grasp success and stability, compared to SVMs, FFNNs, and ST-HMP. We also evaluated the effects on performance of each sensor’s data, and the success rates for individual objects. The results show that the accelerometer data of the IMUs has the largest contribution to the overall grasp prediction, which we attribute to its ability to detect precise movements of the gripper during grasping.

author = {Julian Zimmer and Tess Hellebrekers and Tamim Asfour and Carmel Majidi and Oliver Kroemer},
title = {Predicting Grasp Success with a Soft Sensing Skin and Shape-Memory Actuated Gripper},
booktitle = {Proceedings of (IROS) IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems},
year = {2019},
month = {November},
} 2019-11-11T15:25:20-05:00