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This paper discusses the design and implementation of a framework that automatically extracts and monitors the shape deformations of soft objects from a video sequence and maps them with force measurements with the goal of providing the necessary information to the controller of a robotic hand to ensure safe model-based deformable object manipulation. Measurements corresponding to the interaction force at the level of the fingertips and to the position of the fingertips of a three-finger robotic hand are associated with the contours of a deformed object tracked in a series of images using neural-network approaches. The resulting model captures the behavior of the object and is able to predict its behavior for previously unseen interactions without any assumption on the object's material. The availability of such models can contribute to the improvement of a robotic hand controller, therefore allowing more accurate and stable grasp while providing more elaborate manipulation capabilities for deformable objects. Experiments performed for different objects, made of various materials, reveal that the method accurately captures and predicts the object's shape deformation while the object is submitted to external forces applied by the robot fingers. The proposed method is also fast and insensitive to severe contour deformations, as well as to smooth changes in lighting, contrast, and background.
Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, Part B: Cybernetics, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:42 , Issue: 3 )
Date of Publication: June 2012