Grasp selection strategies for robot manipulation using a superquadric-based object representation
Huaman, Ana Consuelo
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This thesis presents work on the implementation of a robotic system targeted to perform a set of basic manipulation tasks instructed by a human user. The core motivation on the development of this system was in enabling our robot to achieve these tasks reliably, in a time-efficient manner and under mildly realistic constraints. Robot manipulation as a field has grown exponentially during the last years, presenting us with a vast array of robots exhibiting skills as sophisticated as preparing dinner, making an expresso or operating a drill. These complex tasks are in general achieved by using equally complex frameworks, assuming extensive pre-existing knowledge, such as perfect environment knowledge, sizable amounts of training data or availability of crowdsourcing resources. In this work we postulate that elementary tasks, such as pick-up, pick-and-place and pouring, can be realized with online algorithms and a limited knowledge of the objects to be manipulated. The presented work shows a fully implemented pipeline where each module is designed to meet the core requirements specified above. We present a number of experiments involving a database of 10 household objects used in 3 selected elementary manipulation tasks. Our contributions are distributed in each module of our pipeline: (1) We demonstrate that superquadrics are useful primitive shapes suitable to represent on-the-fly a considerable number of convex household objects; their parametric nature (3 axis and 2 shape parameters) is shown to be helpful to represent simple semantic labels for objects (i.e. for a pouring task) useful for grasp and motion planning. (2) We introduce a hand-and-arm metric that considers both grasp robustness and arm end-comfort to select grasps for simple pick-up tasks. We show with real and simulation results that considering both hand and arm aspects of the manipulation task helps to select grasps that are easier to execute in real environments without sacrificing grasp stability on the process. (3) We present grasp selection and planning strategies that exploit task constraints to select the more appropriate grasp to carry out a manipulation task in an online and efficient manner (in terms of planning and execution time).