Simple is not easy: an embodied intelligence approach to tame the complexity of hands.

Speaker: Antonio Bicchi , University of Pisa & Italian Institute of Technology

Date: Thursday, December 05, 2013

Time: 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM Note: all times are in the Eastern Time Zone

Public: Yes

Location: 32-G449 (Kiva)

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Host: Russ Tedrake, CSAIL

Contact: Russ Tedrake,

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Reminder Subject: TALK: Simple is not easy: an embodied intelligence approach to tame the complexity of hands.

In this talk I will discuss the reasons behind the long history of beautiful and sophisticated artificial hands which had little impact on affordable and usable devices for robotics or prosthetics. I will argue that the real challenge in hand design is not just to deploy more or better actuators, sensors and algorithms, but to deeply investigate what is really at the core of the hand functionalities, and develop a principled design approach to simplification, thus realizing that often ``simpler'' is by no means ``easier''.

With such motivations, I will introduce the Pisa-IIT SoftHand, a novel robot hand prototype designed with the purpose of being as easily usable, robust and simple as possible, while exhibiting a level of grasping versatility and an aspect comparable to that of the human hand.  I will briefly review the main theoretical tools used to enable such simplification, i.e. the notion of ``soft synergies''.  Of particular relevance in its design is the very soft and safe, yet powerful and extremely robust structure, obtained through the use of innovative articulations and ligaments replacing conventional joint design.  Recent work on transferring the Pisa-IIT SoftHand technology to prosthetics will also be introduced.

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Created by Russ Tedrake Email at Friday, November 29, 2013 at 6:13 AM.