We are aiming to develop the next generation robot hands, for applications requiring versatility in manipulation. Our work focuses on all aspects of designing, building and then using a robot hand: mechanism synthesis, design optimization, assembly, low-level control, and high-level planning. We are equally interested in sensing for manipulation, from range sensing and vision to tactile sensing and proprioception.
Project highlights (in chronological order):
We are collaborating with the NASA Ames Intelligent Robotics Group to develop dexterous hands allowing the Astrobee to engage in manipulation tasks on board the International Space Station. An early example is shown in the video below, where an Astrobee prototype in simulated microgravity is using an underactuated perching gripper developed in our lab. Video courtesy of IRG's Dr. In Won Park. [Publication: AIM 2017]
We have introduced a new method for optimizing the design of underactuated hands using Mechanically Realizable Manifolds. We have applied this method to the design of a compact yet versatile hand intended for the Astrobee robot on board the International Space Station. [Publication: ICRA 2018][Video below: summary of our paper]
We continued this work by extending this optimization method to new cases, and designing next-generation actuated versions. We also extended the publication above to a journal version [T-RO 2020].
As part of our participation in the NASA ESI program, we were also able to test our hands on the Astrobee robot ground unit at NASA Ames. Many thanks to the Astrobee and IRG groups at NASA for their help in the integration work. The video below shows a test of versatile grasping on the Astrobee: