Manipulation Using the “Utah” Prosthetic Hand: The Role of Stiffness in Manipulation
We describe our approach to the IROS “Hand-in-Hand” manipulation challenge using a simple one degree-of-freedom prehensor, which is known to be highly effective in prosthetic applications. The claw consists of two prongs of which only one is mobile, requiring the user to first make contact with the immobile prong to create a constraint and then use the second prong to exert force on the object. Despite its simplicity, this design is able to grasp a wide variety of objects and reliably manipulate them. In particular, stiffness is advantageous both when manipulating very small objects, where force needs to be applied precisely, as well as heavy ones, where forces needs to be exerted without deforming the claw itself. This approach reaches its limitations during tasks that require more degrees of freedom, for example grasping and subsequently actuating scissors. These tasks instead highlight the benefits of compliance and underactuation, stimulating a discussion about trade-offs in hand designs.
This research has been supported by the Airforce Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) and the Korean government, we are grateful for this support.
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