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Observing Pose and Motion through Contact

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journal contribution
posted on 01.01.1998, 00:00 by Yan-Bin Jia, Michael Erdmann
This paper investigates how to “observe” a planar object being pushed by a finger. The pushing is governed by a non-linear system that relates through contact the object pose and motion to the finger motion. Nonlinear observability theory is employed to show that the contact information is often sufficient for the finger to determine not only the pose but also the motion of the object. Therefore a sensing strategy can be realized as an observer of the nonlinear dynamical system, which is subsequently introduced. The observer, based on the result of [6], has its “gain” determined by the solution of a Lyapunov-like equation. Simulations have been done to demonstrate the feasibility of the observer. A sensor has been implemented using strain gauges and mounted on an Adept robot with which preliminary experiments have been conducted. From a general perspective, this work presents an approach for acquiring geometric and dynamical information about a task from a small amount of tactile data, with the application of nonlinear observability theory.


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