A versatile gripper for cloth manipulation

Journal Article (2020)


IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters







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Cloth manipulation has been mostly advancing in perception and modeling methods for cloth state estimation and grasping point detection. In comparison, less attention has been put on end-effector design. Indeed, most implementations use a parallel gripper that can only perform pinch grasps. Instead, a more versatile set of possible grasp types could ease many tasks by providing more support to certain parts of the object, as well as make feasible tasks that become very complex when executed with only pinch grasps. We present a versatile gripper design which, besides the common open-close thumb+finger(s) feature, it has a couple of reconfiguration degrees of freedom that offer, first, a wide base plane to provide support and, second, variable friction surface on the thumb tip. Our gripper can execute a versatile set of grasps that ease some complex tasks such as pick and place folded clothes or fold in the air. In addition, the variable friction mechanism enables a more robust pinch-and-slide manipulation to trace cloth edges. Our evaluation shows the gripper potential to execute a wide variety of cloth manipulation tasks.


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Scientific reference

S. Donaire, J. Borràs, G. Alenyà and C. Torras. A versatile gripper for cloth manipulation. IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, 5(4): 6520-6527, 2020.