Placing by Touching: An empirical study on the importance of tactile sensing for precise object placing


This work deals with a practical everyday problem - stable object placement on flat surfaces starting from unknown initial poses. Common object-placing approaches require either complete scene specifications or extrinsic sensor measurements, e.g., cameras, that occasionally suffer from occlusions. We propose a novel approach for stable object placing that combines tactile feedback and proprioceptive sensing. We devise a neural architecture that estimates a rotation matrix, resulting in a corrective gripper movement that aligns the object with the placing surface for the subsequent object manipulation. We compare models with different sensing modalities, such as force-torque, an external motion capture system, and two classical baseline models in real-world object placing tasks with different objects. The experimental evaluation of our placing policies with a set of unseen everyday objects reveals significant generalization of our proposed pipeline, suggesting that tactile sensing plays a vital role in the intrinsic understanding of robotic dexterous object manipulation.

In arXiv preprint
Niklas Funk
Niklas Funk
PhD Student in Computer Science

My research interests include robotics, reinforcement learning and dexterous manipulation.