This article reports a method for regulating the internal forces during in-hand manipulation of an unknown shaped object with soft robotic fingers. The internal forces ensure that the object does not move between the robotic fingers, thus improving the grip. It is shown that if soft fingers show bounded conformity and the finger–object interface have bounded relative slip, then the relative angular velocity between the object and the fingertip coordinate frame in contact is bounded. Detailed derivation of the proof is presented. The proof is later used to define a new metric of relative slip. The metric is used to design a sliding mode control algorithm that results in an efficient grip, which is robust toward uncertainty in object shape. The robotic fingers are assumed to be under virtual rigidity constraint, that is, the distance between the fingertips do not change. The control algorithm is attractive as it skirts requirement of information of the shape of the object or to solve optimization problems. The grip with the robust control algorithm is shown to be finite-time stable through Lyapunov’s method. The methodology is demonstrated using simulations.
Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics Open Issues