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Learning robot tactile sensing for object manipulation

Yevgen Chebotar; Oliver Kroemer; Jan Peters
In: 2014 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems. IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS-2014), September 14-18, Chicago, IL, USA, Pages 3368-3375, IEEE, 2014.


Tactile sensing is a fundamental component of object manipulation and tool handling skills. With robots entering unstructured environments, tactile feedback also becomes an important ability for robot manipulation. In this work, we explore how a robot can learn to use tactile sensing in object manipulation tasks. We first address the problem of in-hand object localization and adapt three pose estimation algorithms from computer vision. Second, we employ dynamic motor primitives to learn robot movements from human demonstrations and record desired tactile signal trajectories. Then, we add tactile feedback to the control loop and apply relative entropy policy search to learn the parameters of the tactile coupling. Additionally, we show how the learning of tactile feedback can be performed more efficiently by reducing the dimensionality of the tactile information through spectral clustering and principal component analysis. Our approach is implemented on a real robot, which learns to perform a scraping task with a spatula in an altered environment.

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