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Creators/Authors contains: "Yim, Mark"

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  1. The most common sensing modalities found in a robot perception system are vision and touch, which together can provide global and highly localized data for manipulation. However, these sensing modalities often fail to adequately capture the behavior of target objects during the critical moments as they transition out of static, controlled contact with an end-effector to dynamic and uncontrolled motion. In this work, we present a novel multimodal visuotactile sensor that provides simultaneous visuotactile and proximity depth data. The sensor integrates an RGB camera and air pressure sensor to sense touch with an infrared time-of-flight (ToF) camera to sense proximity by leveraging a selectively transmissive soft membrane to enable the dual sensing modalities. We present the mechanical design, fabrication techniques, algorithm implementations, and evaluation of the sensor's tactile and proximity modalities. The sensor is demonstrated in three open-loop robotic tasks: approaching and contacting an object, catching, and throwing. The fusion of tactile and proximity data could be used to capture key information about a target object's transition behavior for sensor-based control in dynamic manipulation.
  2. This work proposes the development of a robot to perform appropriate tasks to assist low income older adults based on the merging of two previous studies, one which focused on task investigation and deployment of mobile robots in elder care facilities and the other on design investigation for a socially assistive robot using low-cost and modular hardware and software design. We identified that hydration, walking and socialization were tasks appropriate for the robot and most impactful to the older adults. Another outcome was the level of importance of the HRI component in the implementation of these tasks, thus merging both studies to initially investigate preferences in service robots for elder care is proposed.
  3. In this paper a novel telescopic manipulator was adapted to a mobile robotic base to perform manipulation tasks in an elder care facility. As indicated by our previous work, leisure activities and engagement in socialization were desirable among elders, and a physical game assisted by the robot was chosen to investigate both its acceptance and interaction with the older adults. The robot was deployed at an assisted living center and performed multiple interactions. The manipulator was able to successfully retrieve items from different heights as part of the game and results from post-interaction surveys with elders indicated high perceived usefulness and comfort in having the robot as an assistant in the game.