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Cable Following with Tactile Perception

ICRA 2020
Project Details

In this work, we develop a perception and control framework to enable robots to accomplish the task of following a cable. We rely on a vision-based tactile sensor, GelSight, to estimate the pose of the cable in the grip as well as the friction forces during cable sliding. We decompose the behavior of cable following into two tactile-based controllers: 1) Cable grip controller, where a PD controller combined with a leaky integrator are responsible for regulating the gripping force to maintain the frictional sliding forces close to a suitable value; and 2) Cable pose controller, where an LQR controller based on a learned linear model of the cable sliding dynamics is in charge of keeping the cable centered and aligned on the fingertips to prevent the cable from falling.

This behavior is enabled by a designed reactive gripper with force and position control capabilities fitted with GelSight-based high resolution tactile sensors. With the proposed framework, we show that the robot can follow one meter of cable in a random configuration from beginning to end within 2-3 hand regrasps. We further demonstrate that the closed-loop system adapts to cables with different materials and thicknesses, moving at different target velocities.


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Email:nsunil[at]mit[dot]edu