Haptic Classification and Recognition of Objects Using a Tactile Sensing Forearm
Rehg, James M.
Kemp, Charles C.
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In this paper, we demonstrate data-driven inference of mechanical properties of objects using a tactile sensor array (skin) covering a robot's forearm. We focus on the mobility (sliding vs. fixed), compliance (soft vs. hard), and identity of objects in the environment, as this information could be useful for efficient manipulation and search. By using the large surface area of the forearm, a robot could potentially search and map a cluttered volume more efficiently, and be informed by incidental contact during other manipulation tasks. Our approach tracks a contact region on the forearm over time in order to generate time series of select features, such as the maximum force, contact area, and contact motion. We then process and reduce the dimensionality of these time series to generate a feature vector to characterize the contact. Finally, we use the k-nearest neighbor algorithm (k-NN) to classify a new feature vector based on a set of previously collected feature vectors. Our results show a high cross-validation accuracy in both classification of mechanical properties and object recognition. In addition, we analyze the effect of taxel resolution, duration of observation, feature selection, and feature scaling on the classification accuracy.