This workshpo has been proposed and should be held at the next ICRA 2013.
The aim we are seeking with this workshop is to disseminate the scientific activities and results that are being pursued in the EU Project "THE: The Hand Embodied", coordinated by Prof. Antonio Bicchi, and discuss them with experts in related fields. We believe that the workshop topics involve disciplines and application areas whic
The human hand is a cognitive organ capable of extremely dexterous actuation and hyper-acute sensory function. Possessing the hand machinery with over 30 effectively enabled degrees of freedom, actuated by at least as many muscles through a complicated network of ligaments, and collecting sensation from diverse tactile receptors, the central nervous system must have developed strategies simplifying its control and interpretation of the sensory information. These strategies are united within a single notion, so-called “synergies”, which implies an efficient use of multiple possibly diverse agents, like muscles, joints, fingers, receptors and sensory modalities.
Humans are astonishingly talented in organizing the diverse elements of its body machinery into sensorimotor synergies. Within this full day workshop we will look into this capability in search of inspiration for development of beyond state-of-the-art robotic hands. We aim at bringing the concept of synergy originating in the neurophysiological studies into the field of robotics with the main focus on the design of robotic hands, prosthetic devices and haptic interfaces. It is in fact by further refining and improving upon the synergy principles that we strive towards creating robots that are capable of complex manipulation skills in real-world environments.
MOTIVATION AND OBJECTIVES
In this workshop we want to study how the embodied characteristics of the human hand and its sensors, the sensorimotor transformations, and the very constraints impose, affect and determine the learning and control strategies we use for such fundamental cognitive functions as exploring, grasping and manipulating. By learning from human data and hypotheses-driven simulations how can we devise improved system architectures for the “hand” as a cognitive organ. This knowledge is extremely useful to design and control new and improved robot hands, haptic interfaces, and hand prostheses.
The workshop hinges about the conceptual structure and the geometry of such enabling constraints, or synergies: dependencies in redundant hand mobility (motor synergies), and in redundant cutaneous and kinaesthetic receptors readings (multi-cue integration), and overall sensorimotor synergies.
Embodiment is key in characterizing human skills with respect to grasping and manipulation capabilities. Understanding that mere mimicking human behavior is not a way to pursue since it is not possible to replicate the complexity of the embodied human hand, we search for the simplifying strategies governing the human motor behaviour, i.e. an abstraction layer, by which effective lessons can be then taught to robotic systems.
In the workshop leading experts from the various fields will get together to present the underlying fundamental ideas. The workshop is a platform to identify and reveal aspects from neuroscience and learning to be used profitably in robotic grasping, prosthetics, haptics, and rehabilitation. Topics to be addressed include, but are not limited to:
1. How do synergies help to control such complicated many-dofs systems as hands?
2. How do synergies help to perceive properties of external objects through the noisy and diverse sensory system we possess?
3. What are the limitations of the soft/adaptives synergies as implemented in compliant low-dof grasping devices?
4. What is the trade-off between achievable tasks and number of motor synergies (actuators)?
5. What is the role of tactile information in the sensory synergies and how can low-dof hands benefit from it?