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Impact-Aware Bimanual Catching of Large-Momentum Objects

Lei Yan, Theodoros Stouraitis, Joao Moura, Michael Gienger, Sethu Vijayakumar, "Impact-Aware Bimanual Catching of Large-Momentum Objects", IEEE Transaction on Robotics, 2024.


This paper investigates one of the most challeng- ing tasks in dynamic manipulation—catching large-momentum moving objects. Beyond the realm of quasi-static manipulation, dealing with highly dynamic objects can significantly improve the robot’s capability of interacting with its surrounding en- vironment. Yet, the inevitable motion mismatch between the fast moving object and the approaching robot will result in large impulsive forces, which lead to the unstable contacts and irreversible damage to both the object and the robot. To address the above problems, we propose an online optimization framework to: 1) estimate and predict the linear and angular motion of the object; 2) search and select the optimal contact locations across every surface of the object to mitigate impact through sequential quadratic programming (SQP); 3) simulta- neously optimize the end-effector motion, stiffness, and contact force for both robots using multi-mode trajectory optimization (MMTO); and 4) realise the impact-aware catching motion on the compliant robotic system based on indirect force controller. We validate the impulse distribution, contact selection, and impact- aware MMTO algorithms in simulation and demonstrate the benefits of the proposed framework in real-world experiments including catching large-momentum moving objects with well- defined motion, constrained motion and free-flying motion.

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