Towards Robotic Feeding: Role Of Haptics In Fork-Based Food Manipulation

IEEE ROBOTICS AND AUTOMATION LETTERS(2019)

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Abstract
Autonomous feeding is challenging because it requires the manipulation of food items with various compliance, sizes, and shapes. To understand how humans manipulate food items during feeding and to explore ways to adapt their strategies to robots, we collected a rich dataset of human trajectories by asking them to pick up food and feed it to a mannequin. From the analysis of the collected haptic and motion signals, we demonstrate that humans adapt their control policies to accommodate to the compliance and shape of the food item being acquired. We propose taxonomy of manipulation strategies for feeding to highlight such policies. As a first step to generate compliance-dependent policies, we propose a set of classifiers for compliance-based food categorization from haptic and motion signals. We compare these human manipulation strategies with fixed position-control policies via a robot. Our analysis of success and failure cases of human and robot policies further highlights the importance of adapting the policy to the compliance of a food item.
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Key words
Haptics and haptic interfaces, force and tactile sensing, perception for grasping and manipulation
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