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A. Ajoudani, E. Hocaoglu, A. Altobelli, M. Rossi, E. Battaglia, N. Tsagarakis, A. Bicchi: " Reflex control of the Pisa/IIT SoftHand during object slippage", 2016 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), May 2016

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In this work, to guarantee the Pisa/IIT SoftHand's grasp robustness against slippage, three reflex control modes, namely Current, Pose and Impedance, are implemented and experimentally evaluated. Towards this objective, ThimbleSense fingertip sensors are designed and integrated into the thumb and middle fingers of the SoftHand for real-time detection and control of the slippage. Current reflex regulates the restoring grasp forces of the hand by modulating the motor's current profile according to an update law. Pose and Impedance reflex modes instead replicate this behaviour by implementing an impedance control scheme. The difference between the two latter is that the stiffness gain in Impedance reflex mode is being varied in addition to the hand pose, as a function of the slippage on the fingertips. Experimental setup also includes a seven degrees-of-freedom robotic arm to realize consistent trajectories (e.g. lifting) among three control modes for the sake of comparison. Different test objects are considered to evaluate the efficacy of the proposed reflex modes in our experimental setup. Results suggest that task-appropriate restoring forces can be achieved using Impedance reflex due to its capability in demonstrating instantaneous and rather smooth reflexive behaviour during slippage. Preliminary experiments on five healthy human subjects provide evidence on the similarity of the control concepts exploited by the humans and the one realized by the Impedance reflex, highlighting its potential in prosthetic applications.