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Placing by Touching: An empirical study on the importance of tactile sensing for precise object placing

Luca Lach; Niklas Funk; Robert Haschke; Séverin Lemaignan; Helge Joachim Ritter; Jan Peters; Georgia Chalvatzaki
In: Computing Research Repository eprint Journal (CoRR), Vol. abs/2210.02054, Pages 0-10, arXiv, 2022.


This work deals with a practical everyday problem: stable object placement on flat surfaces starting from unknown initial poses. Common object-placing approaches require either complete scene specifications or extrinsic sensor measurements, e.g., cameras, that occasionally suffer from occlusions. We propose a novel approach for stable object placing that combines tactile feedback and proprioceptive sensing. We devise a neural architecture that estimates a rotation matrix, resulting in a corrective gripper movement that aligns the object with the placing surface for the subsequent object manipulation. We compare models with different sensing modalities, such as force-torque and an external motion capture system, in real-world object placing tasks with different objects. The experimental evaluation of our placing policies with a set of unseen everyday objects reveals significant generalization of our proposed pipeline, suggesting that tactile sensing plays a vital role in the intrinsic understanding of robotic dexterous object manipulation. Code, models, and supplementary videos are available at

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