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Imitation Learning of Positional and Force Skills Demonstrated via Kinesthetic Teaching and Haptic Input

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Abstract:

A method to learn and reproduce robot force interactions in a human–robot interaction setting is proposed. The method allows a robotic manipulator to learn to perform tasks that require exerting forces on external objects by interacting with a human operator in an unstructured environment. This is achieved by learning two aspects of a task: positional and force profiles. The positional profile is obtained from task demonstrations via kinesthetic teaching. The force profile is obtained from additional demonstrations via a haptic device. A human teacher uses the haptic device to input the desired forces that the robot should exert on external objects during the task execution. The two profiles are encoded as a mixture of dynamical systems, which is used to reproduce the task satisfying both the positional and force profiles. An active control strategy based on task-space control with variable stiffness is then proposed to reproduce the skill. The method is demonstrated with two experiments in which the robot learns an ironing task and a door-opening task.

Keywords: HAPTICS; IMITATION LEARNING; KINESTHETIC TEACHING; PHYSICAL HUMAN-ROBOT INTERACTION; PROGRAMMING BY DEMONSTRATION

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/016918611X558261

Affiliations: Department of Advanced Robotics, Italian Institute of Technology, 16163 Genova, Italy

Publication date: March 1, 2011

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