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Towel-Like Object Alignment with Human–Robot Cooperation and High-Speed Robotic Manipulation


In recent years, there has been an increasing demand for robotic handling of towel-like objects in linen and laun- dry services. One such task involves picking up a towel randomly and aligning it to a predetermined position and posture. However, it is difficult for robots to handle these towel-like flexible objects because deformation occurs during robotic manipulation, and manipulation based on estimation of deformation status is rather challenging and unfeasible for most robotic systems.
As per the below illustration, we propose to realize this task using a method that combines human–robot cooperation for static manipulation (grasping) and high-speed robotic motion strategy for dynamic manipulation (aligning). Specifically, a human worker picks up a towel and holds it for robot to grasp, and then, the robot quickly aligns the towel to desired area of the table, using high-speed motion strategy after grasping the towel. In this manner, the challenging issue of deformation of the flexible towel-like object is addressed by human cognition and high-speed motion strategy. In order to ensure that human workers remain dominant and safe during the cooperative operation phase, a new hand-arm robotic system utilizing high-speed actuators and high-speed visual feedback with a micro-macro configuration is developed.



  1. K. Murakami, S. Huang, H. Sumi, M. Ishikawa and Y. Yamakawa: Towel-Like Object Alignment with Human-Robot Cooperation and High-Speed Robotic Manipulation, 2018 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Biomimetics, pp.772-777 (2018)
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