Force sensing is an essential requirement for dexterous robot manipulation. We describe composite robot end-effectors that incorporate optical fibers for accurate force sensing and estimation of contact locations. The design is inspired by the sensors in arthropod exoskeletons that allow them to detect contacts and loads on their limbs. In this paper, we present a fabrication process that allows us to create hollow multimaterial structures with embedded fibers and the results of experiments to characterize the sensors and controlling contact forces in a system involving an industrial robot and a two-fingered dexterous hand. We also briefly describe the optical-interrogation method used to measure multiple sensors along a single fiber at kilohertz rates for closed-loop force control.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Manuscript received May 23, 2009; revised September 15, 2009. First published October 30, 2009; current version published December 8, 2009. This paper was recommended for publication by Associate Editor A. Albu-Schäffer and Editor K. Lynch upon evaluation of the reviewers’ comments. This paper was presented in part at the 2007 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, Rome, Italy, and in part at the 2008 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, Pasadena, CA. This work was supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under Small Business Innovation Research Contract NNJ06JA36C.
Prof. Cutkosky received a Fulbright Faculty Chair, the Charles M. Pigott Professorship, and National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award. He is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and Sigma Xi.
- Biologically inspired robots
- Dexterous manipulation
- Fiber Bragg grating (FBG)
- Force and tactile sensing
- Force control
- Shape-deposition manufacturing.