EL-E: An Assistive Mobile Manipulator that Autonomously Fetches Objects from Flat Surfaces
Anderson, Cressel D.
Trevor, Alexander J. B.
Kemp, Charles C.
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Objects within human environments are usually found on flat surfaces that are orthogonal to gravity, such as floors, tables, and shelves. We first present a new assistive robot that is explicitly designed to take advantage of this common structure in order to retrieve unmodeled, everyday objects for people with motor impairments. This compact, stati- cally stable mobile manipulator has a novel kinematic and sensory configuration that facilitates autonomy and human- robot interaction within indoor human environments. Sec- ond, we present a behavior system that enables this robot to fetch objects selected with a laser pointer from the floor and tables. The robot can approach an object selected with the laser pointer interface, detect if the object is on an elevated surface, raise or lower its arm and sensors to this surface, and visually and tacitly grasp the object. Once the object is acquired, the robot can place the object on a laser des- ignated surface above the floor, follow the laser pointer on the floor, or deliver the object to a seated person selected with the laser pointer. Within this paper we present initial results for object acquisition and delivery to a seated, able- bodied individual. For this test, the robot succeeded in 6 out of 7 trials (86%).