Surprisingly Robust In-Hand Manipulation: An Empirical Study

Aditya Bhatt (TU Berlin),
Adrian Sieler (TU Berlin),
Steffen Puhlmann (TU Berlin),
Oliver Brock (TU Berlin)
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Paper #089
Interactive Poster Session III Interactive Poster Session VI

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We present in-hand manipulation skills on a dexterous, compliant, anthropomorphic hand. Even though these skills were derived in a simplistic manner, they exhibit surprising robustness to variations in shape, size, weight, and placement of the manipulated object. They are also very insensitive to variation of execution speeds, ranging from highly dynamic to quasi-static. The robustness of the skills leads to compositional properties that enable extended and robust manipulation programs. To explain the surprising robustness of the in-hand manipulation skills, we performed a detailed, empirical analysis of the skills’ performance. From this analysis, we identify three principles for skill design: 1) Exploiting the hardware’s innate ability to drive hard-to-model contact dynamics. 2) Taking actions to constrain these interactions, funneling the system into a narrow set of possibilities. 3) Composing such action sequences into complex manipulation programs. We believe that these principles constitute an important foundation for robust robotic in-hand manipulation, and possibly for manipulation in general.

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