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Soft-bodied intelligence for Manipulation

Objective

The main obstacle to a wide-spread adoption of advanced manipulation systems in industry is their complexity, fragility, lack of strength, and difficulty of use. This project describes a path of disruptive innovation for the development of simple, compliant, yet strong, robust, and easy-to-program manipulation systems. The idea is: Soft Manipulation (SoMa).

SoMa explores a new avenue of robotic manipulation with the environment, as opposed to manipulation of or in the environment. In our approach, the physical constraints imposed by objects in the environment and the manipulandum itself are not regarded as obstacles, but rather as opportunities to guide functional hand pre-shaping, adaptive grasping, and affordance-guided manipulation of objects. The exploitation of these opportunities, which we refer to as environmental constraints (EC), enables robust grasping and manipulation in dynamic, open, and highly variable environments.

The key ingredient for the exploitation of EC is softness of hands, i.e. their embodied ability to comply and adapt to features of the environment. The traditional paradigm for robotic manipulation is in complete disarray in front of this shift of focus: state-of-the-art grasp planners are targeted towards rigid hands and objects, and attempt to find algorithmic solutions to inherently complex, often ill-posed problems. Further complicating matters, the requirement of planning for soft, uncertain interactions between hand and environment is entirely beyond the state of the art. However, this is how humans most often use their hands, and how we plan to change robotic manipulation.

Field of science

  • /engineering and technology/electrical engineering, electronic engineering, information engineering/electronic engineering/robotics/autonomous robots
  • /agricultural sciences/agriculture, forestry, and fisheries/agriculture/horticulture/fruit growing
  • /engineering and technology/electrical engineering, electronic engineering, information engineering/electronic engineering/sensors
  • /agricultural sciences/agriculture, forestry, and fisheries/agriculture/horticulture/vegetable growing

Call for proposal

H2020-ICT-2014-1
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

RIA - Research and Innovation action

Coordinator

TECHNISCHE UNIVERSITAT BERLIN
Address
Strasse Des 17 Juni 135
10623 Berlin
Germany
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 1 690 482,50

Participants (6)

UNIVERSITA DI PISA
Italy
EU contribution
€ 1 574 062,50
Address
Lungarno Pacinotti 43/44
56126 Pisa
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
FONDAZIONE ISTITUTO ITALIANO DI TECNOLOGIA
Italy
EU contribution
€ 1 168 000
Address
Via Morego 30
16163 Genova
Activity type
Research Organisations
DEUTSCHES ZENTRUM FUR LUFT - UND RAUMFAHRT EV
Germany
EU contribution
€ 820 740
Address
Linder Hohe
51147 Koln
Activity type
Research Organisations
INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY AUSTRIA
Austria
EU contribution
€ 229 618,75
Address
Am Campus 1
3400 Klosterneuburg
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY (SWITZERLAND) GMBH
Switzerland
EU contribution
€ 25 500
Address
Hoeschgasse 45
8008 Zurich
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
OCADO INNOVATION LIMITED
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 812 875
Address
Buildings One & Two Trident Place Mosquito Way
AL10 9UL Hatfield
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)