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Research Project

Multi-hand systems for complex robotized manipulation tasks (MUMA )

TITLE: Multi-hand systems for complex robotized manipulation tasks

Acronym: MUMA

REFERENCE: DPI2010-15446

PERIOD: 1/1/2011-31/3/2014

PROJECT LEADER: Raúl Suárez Feijóo

Email:  raul.suarez@upc.edu
Phone: +34-934016548/6654

CENTER:Institut de Organització i Control de Sistemes Industrials (IOC)
                Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC)

KEYWORDS: robotics, grasping, manipulation, dexterous mechanical hands, anthropomorphic hands, teleoperation

The majority of robotized tasks, as well as those of potential robotization, whether in industrial or service robotics, require adequate grasping and manipulation of objects. This fact, together with advances in the design, construction and control of electromechanical systems, has led to the development of sophisticated and versatile grasping elements, including the proposal of anthropomorphic mechanical hands, some of which are already commercially available. The complexity of the tasks to be carried out by such devices has given rise to a line of research oriented to solving automatically the problems of grasping and manipulation. The objective is essentially to hold and manipulate an object in an optimal fashion for a given purpose; as a function of the case, this may involve a number of associated problems, such as determining adequate contact points on the object, appropriate hand configurations, correct grasping forces, and collision-free trajectories for hand and robot, among other related problems, always characterised by a high computational complexity. Considerable progress has been achieved along this line of research, including contributions of the proposing group in the course of previous research projects. But there is still a long way to go and the current challenge is to advance a qualitative step in the robotized grasping and manipulation of objects by developing the algorithms needed to automate multi-hand systems, i.e. when more than one grasping element is available. The object of the present project is to achieve this qualitative jump, by proposing new techniques and developing new algorithms that allow multi-hand systems to perform those tasks, both for cases that require more than one grasping element and for those that, though not absolutely required, the use of more than one grasping element allows better solutions based on different optimisation criteria (for instance, more robustness or adaptability to the task). In the framework of the project a two-hand system will be implemented and used to validate experimentally the theoretical developments. The results of the project could be applied both in industrial environments and in service robotics; moreover, they are foreseeing to be essential for the efficient use of humanoid robots, which obviously need to be capable of resolving tasks with their two hands in a similar fashion to human beings.

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