Teleoperation in cluttered environments using wearable haptic feedback

Abstract : Robotic teleoperation in cluttered environments is attracting increasing attention for its potential in hazardous scenarios, disaster response, and telemaintenance. Although haptic feedback has been proven effective in such applications, commercially-available grounded haptic interfaces still show significant limitations in terms of workspace, safety, transparency , and encumbrance. For this reason, we present a novel robotic teleoperation system with wearable haptic feedback for telemanipulation in cluttered environments. The slave system is composed of a soft robotic hand attached to a 6-axis force sensor, which is fixed to a 6-degrees-of-freedom robotic arm. The master system is composed of two wearable vibrotactile armbands and a Leap Motion. The armbands are worn on the upper arm and forearm, and convey information about collisions on the robotic arm and hand, respectively. The position of the manipulator and the grasping configuration of the robotic hand are controlled by the user's hand pose as tracked by the Leap Motion. To validate our approach, we carried out a human-subject telemanipulation experiment in a cluttered scenario. Twelve participants were asked to teleoperate the robot to grasp an object hidden between debris of various shapes and stiffnesses. Haptic feedback provided by our wearable devices significantly improved the performance of the considered telemanipulation tasks. All subjects but one preferred conditions with wearable haptic feedback.
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Joao Bimbo, Claudio Pacchierotti, Marco Aggravi, Nikos Tsagarakis, Domenico Prattichizzo. Teleoperation in cluttered environments using wearable haptic feedback. IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, IROS'17, Sep 2017, Vancouver, Canada. pp.3401-3408. ⟨hal-01572358⟩

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