Dr. Robert Howe - "Robot Hands for the Real World"
Dr. Robert Howe from Harvard University will be presenting "Robot Hands for the Real World". The abstract of the talk is listed below.
Manipulating objects in human environments like homes and workplaces is challenging because object properties are not known a priori and sensing is prone to error. Research in this area has largely focused on anthropomorphic hands that are complex, fragile, and difficult to control. We are pursuing an alternate approach that focuses on the passive mechanical behavior of the hand. By integrating carefully-selected joint compliance and adaptive transmissions, we have developed a simple and inexpensive hand that can grasp objects spanning a wide range of sizes, shapes, weights, and positions, while using only one motor. The hand is constructed using polymer-based Shape Deposition Manufacturing (SDM), resulting in a robust design that can withstand large impacts. Experimental testing demonstrates that the SDM Hand can autonomously grasp objects despite large positioning errors, while keeping contact forces low. A new hand, the i-HY Manipulator, combines optimized passive mechanics with five motors for precision fingertip manipulation. We have also developed a low-cost sensor suite for these hands that includes distributed tactile sensors, flexure joint sensors, and piezoelectric contact sensors. By taking advantage of intrinsic finger compliance, these sensors can rapidly and effectively acquire essential object properties without complex and precise controllers. The combined hand and sensor system can deal with a wide range of objects and tasks, enabling effective grasping and manipulation in many real-world settings