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Enhancing Deformable Object Manipulation By Using Interactive Perception and Assistive Tools

Peng Zhou
Nov 2023
In the field of robotic manipulation, the proficiency of deformable object manipulation lags behind human capabilities due to the inherent characteristics of deformable objects. These objects have infinite degrees of freedom, resulting in non-trivial perception and state estimation, and complex dynamics, complicating the prediction of future configurations. Although recent research has focused on deformable object manipulation, most approaches rely on static vision and simple manipulation techniques, limiting the performance level. This paper proposes two solutions to enhance the performance: interactive perception and the use of assistive tools. The first solution posits that optimal perspectives exist during deformable object manipulation, facilitating easier state estimation. By exploring the action-perception regularity, interactive perception facilitates better manipulation and perception. The second solution advocates for the use of assistive tools, a hallmark of human intelligence, to improve manipulation performance. For instance, a folding board can aid in garment folding tasks by reducing object deformation and managing complex dynamics. Hence, this research aims to address the deformable object manipulation problem by incorporating interactive perception and assistive tools to augment manipulation performance.
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