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Estimation and Inference for Grasping and Manipulation Tasks Using Vision and Kinesthetic Sensors


Hebert, Paul (2013) Estimation and Inference for Grasping and Manipulation Tasks Using Vision and Kinesthetic Sensors. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/PZB6-QJ39.


This thesis presents a novel framework for state estimation in the context of robotic grasping and manipulation. The overall estimation approach is based on fusing various visual cues for manipulator tracking, namely appearance and feature-based, shape-based, and silhouette-based visual cues. Similarly, a framework is developed to fuse the above visual cues, but also kinesthetic cues such as force-torque and tactile measurements, for in-hand object pose estimation. The cues are extracted from multiple sensor modalities and are fused in a variety of Kalman filters.

A hybrid estimator is developed to estimate both a continuous state (robot and object states) and discrete states, called contact modes, which specify how each finger contacts a particular object surface. A static multiple model estimator is used to compute and maintain this mode probability. The thesis also develops an estimation framework for estimating model parameters associated with object grasping. Dual and joint state-parameter estimation is explored for parameter estimation of a grasped object's mass and center of mass. Experimental results demonstrate simultaneous object localization and center of mass estimation.

Dual-arm estimation is developed for two arm robotic manipulation tasks. Two types of filters are explored; the first is an augmented filter that contains both arms in the state vector while the second runs two filters in parallel, one for each arm. These two frameworks and their performance is compared in a dual-arm task of removing a wheel from a hub.

This thesis also presents a new method for action selection involving touch. This next best touch method selects an available action for interacting with an object that will gain the most information. The algorithm employs information theory to compute an information gain metric that is based on a probabilistic belief suitable for the task. An estimation framework is used to maintain this belief over time. Kinesthetic measurements such as contact and tactile measurements are used to update the state belief after every interactive action. Simulation and experimental results are demonstrated using next best touch for object localization, specifically a door handle on a door. The next best touch theory is extended for model parameter determination. Since many objects within a particular object category share the same rough shape, principle component analysis may be used to parametrize the object mesh models. These parameters can be estimated using the action selection technique that selects the touching action which best both localizes and estimates these parameters. Simulation results are then presented involving localizing and determining a parameter of a screwdriver.

Lastly, the next best touch theory is further extended to model classes. Instead of estimating parameters, object class determination is incorporated into the information gain metric calculation. The best touching action is selected in order to best discern between the possible model classes. Simulation results are presented to validate the theory.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:estimation, inference, manipulation, grasping, vision, kinesthetic, force-torque, fusion
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Mechanical Engineering
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Burdick, Joel Wakeman
Thesis Committee:
  • Burdick, Joel Wakeman (chair)
  • Murray, Richard M.
  • Perona, Pietro
  • Beck, James L.
  • Hudson, Nicolas H.
Defense Date:5 September 2012
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada UNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:04052013-105520483
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:7580
Deposited By: Paul Hebert
Deposited On:07 May 2013 21:26
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 23:59

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PDF (Hebert_Thesis_Twosided) - Final Version
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PDF (Hebert_Thesis_Onesided) - Final Version
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