Manipulators and Manipulation in high dimensional spaces
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Hand manipulation is one of the most complex form of biological movements. Despite its significance in multiple fields such as biomechanics, neuroscience, robotics and graphics, our understanding of dexterous manipulation is quite superficial and far from being reproducible. The unique capabilities of the human hand have long inspired roboticist in their pursuit to develop manipulators with similar dexterity. Simple and isolated tasks such as grasping can of course be accomplished by simpler devices. Nevertheless, if robots are to perform a wider range of tasks in less structured environments than what is currently possible, they are likely to need manipulators approaching human levels of dexterity. The primary goal of this thesis is to realize dynamic dexterous manipulation on physical hardware. The thesis makes following contributions towards this goal Design and development of “ADROIT Manipulation Platform” – a 28 degrees of freedom arm-hand system capable of hosting dexterous dynamics manipulation, thanks to the custom designed fast, strong and compliant pneumatic actuation system. Behavior synthesis techniques – that are capable of synthesizing the details of dynamic dexterous manipulation in high dimensional manipulators – and scalable approaches that bridge the wide divide between what’s possible in simulation and what works on the physical hardware under real world conditions.