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Creators/Authors contains: "Padir, T."

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  1. Manipulation of deformable objects is a desired skill in making robots ubiquitous in manufacturing, service, healthcare, and security. Deformable objects are common in our daily lives, e.g., wires, clothes, bed sheets, etc., and are significantly more difficult to model than rigid objects. In this study, we investigate vision-based manipulation of linear flexible objects such as cables. We propose a geometric modeling method that is based on visual feedback to develop a general representation of the linear flexible object that is subject to gravity. The model characterizes the shape of the object by combining the curvatures on two projection planes. In this approach, we achieve tracking of the position and orientation (pose) of a cable-like object, the pose of its tip, and the pose of the selected grasp point on the object, which enables closed-loop manipulation of the object. We demonstrate the feasibility of our approach by completing the Plug Task used in the 2015 DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals, which involves unplugging a power cable from one socket and plugging it into another. Experiments show that we can successfully complete the task autonomously within 30 seconds.
  2. We present a contact-implicit trajectory optimization framework that can plan contact-interaction trajectories for different robot architectures and tasks using a trivial initial guess and without requiring any parameter tuning. This is achieved by using a relaxed contact model along with an automatic penalty adjustment loop for suppressing the relaxation. Moreover, the structure of the problem enables us to exploit the contact information implied by the use of relaxation in the previous iteration, such that the solution is explicitly improved with little computational overhead. We test the proposed approach in simulation experiments for non-prehensile manipulation using a 7-DOF arm and a mobile robot and for planar locomotion using a humanoid-like robot in zero gravity. The results demonstrate that our method provides an out-of-the-box solution with good performance for a wide range of applications.