Mechanical Intelligence in Robotic Manipulation: Towards Human-Level Dexterity in Robotic and Prosthetic Hands
Dollar, Aaron M.
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The human hand is the pinnacle of dexterity – it has the ability to powerfully grasp a wide range of object sizes and shapes as well as delicately manipulate objects held within the fingertips. Current robotic and prosthetic systems, however, have only a fraction of that manual dexterity. My group attempts to address this gap in three main ways: examining the mechanics and design of effective hands, studying biological hand function as inspiration and performance benchmarking, and developing novel control approaches that accommodate task uncertainty. In terms of hand design, we strongly prioritize passive mechanics, including incorporating adaptive underactuated transmissions and carefully tuned compliance, and seek to maximize open-loop performance while minimizing complexity. To motivate and benchmark our efforts, we are examining human hand usage during daily activities as well as quantifying functional aspects such as precision manipulation workspaces.
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