Making Objects Graspable in Confined Environments through Push and Pull Manipulation with a Tool

Elliott, S., Valente, M., & Cakmak, M. (2016). Making Objects Graspable in Confined Environments through Push and Pull Manipulation with a Tool. In IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA).

Abstract

Grasping objects in confined environments, such as shelves, fridges, or drawers, is challenging due to the difficulty of avoiding gripper and arm collisions with the surfaces surrounding the object. In this paper we explore the use of a tool to reconfigure objects in such environments so as to make them graspable. The proposed tool has a simple form that allows it to be used in confined environments and a high friction tool tip that enables not only pushing objects but also pulling them. Our approach involves learning predictive models of pre-defined object-directed tool actions from experience. For each action, we train a multi-modal regressor that maps the initial state of an object to changes in that state, such that future states of the object can be estimated. These allow the robot to choose a sequence of tool actions that yield graspable configurations. We demonstrate that our approach enables a PR2 robot to grasp five different objects from different, initially ungraspable, configurations on a shelf.

BibTeX Entry

@inproceedings{elliott16icra,
  title = {Making Objects Graspable in Confined Environments through Push and Pull Manipulation with a Tool},
  author = {Elliott, Sarah and Valente, Michelle and Cakmak, Maya},
  booktitle = {IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA)},
  year = {2016},
  video = {https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Mcg0SnOoEA}
}