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Leveraging Contact Forces for Learning to Grasp


Conference Paper



Grasping objects under uncertainty remains an open problem in robotics research. This uncertainty is often due to noisy or partial observations of the object pose or shape. To enable a robot to react appropriately to unforeseen effects, it is crucial that it continuously takes sensor feedback into account. While visual feedback is important for inferring a grasp pose and reaching for an object, contact feedback offers valuable information during manipulation and grasp acquisition. In this paper, we use model-free deep reinforcement learning to synthesize control policies that exploit contact sensing to generate robust grasping under uncertainty. We demonstrate our approach on a multi-fingered hand that exhibits more complex finger coordination than the commonly used two- fingered grippers. We conduct extensive experiments in order to assess the performance of the learned policies, with and without contact sensing. While it is possible to learn grasping policies without contact sensing, our results suggest that contact feedback allows for a significant improvement of grasping robustness under object pose uncertainty and for objects with a complex shape.

Author(s): Hamza Merzic and Miroslav Bogdanovic and Daniel Kappler and Ludovic Righetti and Jeannette Bohg
Book Title: Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) 2019
Year: 2019
Month: May
Publisher: IEEE

Department(s): Autonomous Motion, Movement Generation and Control
Bibtex Type: Conference Paper (inproceedings)
Paper Type: Conference

Event Name: International Conference on Robotics and Automation
Event Place: Montreal, Canada

Links: video


  title = {Leveraging Contact Forces for Learning to Grasp},
  author = {Merzic, Hamza and Bogdanovic, Miroslav and Kappler, Daniel and Righetti, Ludovic and Bohg, Jeannette},
  booktitle = {Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) 2019},
  publisher = {IEEE},
  month = may,
  year = {2019},
  month_numeric = {5}