MRC Seminar: Embodying Dexterity: Contact models for the design of robotic grasping and manipulation

Friday, September 23, 2022
2:00 p.m.
2121 JMP

Embodying Dexterity: Contact models for the design of robotic grasping and manipulation systems

Hannah Stuart 
Assistant Professor
Department of Mechanical Engineering
University of California at Berkeley
Streaming Link
For robots to perform helpful manual tasks, they must be able to physically interact with the real-world. The ability of robots to grasp and manipulate often depends on the strength and reliability of contact conditions, e.g. friction. In this talk, I will introduce how my lab is developing tools for "messy" or adversarial contact conditions -- granular/rocky media, fluids, human interaction -- to support the design of more capable systems. Developing models of contact enables parametric studies that can powerfully inform mechanical design of robots. Coupled with prototyping and experimental exploration, we generate new systems that better embody desired capabilities. 
In particular, we are creating grippers, skins, tactile sensors, and wearables for the hands -- focusing on the point of contact. In this talk, I will draw upon recent examples including how we are (1) harnessing fluid flow in soft grippers to improve and monitor grasp state in unique ways, (2) modeling granular interaction forces to support new single- and multi-agent capabilities in sand, and (3) exploring assistive wearable device topologies for collaborative grasping.
Dr. Hannah Stuart is the Don M. Cunningham Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of California at Berkeley. She received her BS in Mechanical Engineering at the George Washington University in 2011, and her MS and PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University in 2013 and 2018, respectively. Her research focuses on understanding the mechanics of physical interaction in order to better design systems for dexterous manipulation. Applications range from remote robotics to assistive orthotics to tactile sensor and skin design. Recent awards include the NASA Early Career Faculty grant and Johnson & Johnson Women in STEM2D grant.
Ryan Sochol

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