Mechanical Engineering Faculty Research


Human-Inspired Feedback Synergies for Environmental Interaction with a Dexterous Robotic Hand

Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 11-2014


Effortless control of the human hand is mediated by the physical and neural couplings inherent in the structure of the hand. This concept was explored for environmental interaction tasks with the human hand, and a novel human-inspired feedback synergy (HFS) controller was developed for a robotic hand which synchronized position and force feedback signals to mimic observed human hand motions. This was achieved by first recording the finger joint motion profiles of human test subjects, where it was observed that the subjects would extend their fingers to maintain a natural hand posture when interacting with different surfaces. The resulting human joint angle data were used as inspiration to develop the HFS controller for the anthropomorphic robotic hand, which incorporated finger abduction and force feedback in the control laws for finger extension. Experimental results showed that by projecting a broader view of the tasks at hand to each specific joint, the HFS controller produced hand motion profiles that closely mimic the observed human responses and allowed the robotic manipulator to interact with the surfaces while maintaining a natural hand posture. Additionally, the HFS controller enabled the robotic hand to autonomously traverse vertical step discontinuities without prior knowledge of the environment, visual feedback, or traditional trajectory planning techniques.

Publication Title

Bioinspiration & Biomimetics





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