Thesis Defense: Touching is Believing: Sensing and Analyzing Touch Information with GelSight

Speaker: Rui Li , CSAIL, EECS

Date: Thursday, April 30, 2015

Time: 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM Note: all times are in the Eastern Time Zone

Public: Yes

Location: 32-D463 (Star Room)

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Host: Edward Adelson, BCS and CSAIL

Contact: Rui Li, 617-834-5215,

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Reminder Subject: TALK: Thesis Defense: Touching is Believing: Sensing and Analyzing Touch Information with GelSight


For robots to perform advanced manipulations in a world of unknowns, touch is a critical source of information, and a high-quality tactile sensor becomes very essential. However, existing tactile sensors generally are low-resolution and/or non-compliant, making it difficult to capture detailed contact information for manipulations that humans are very good at.

GelSight was first developed a few years ago to capture micro-scale surface topography and converts pressure patterns to images, making it promising for high-quality tactile sensing. However, the original devices were big, relatively slow, and expensive for robotic applications. In this work, I developed a new tactile sensor based on GelSight, which I call fingertip GelSight sensor, that is much more compact, faster and less expensive. Despite that, the new sensor has high resolution, on the order of tens of microns, high compliance and high sensitivity. I demonstrated its unparalleled capabilities as a new-generation robotic fingertip for manipulation, in terms of localization and manipulation of small parts, normal and shear force estimations, and slip detection, as well as for material perception, in terms of 3D surface texture classification. With image processing and machine learning techniques applied on the tactile images obtained, the fingertip GelSight sensor opens many possibilities for robotic manipulations that would otherwise be difficult to do.

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Created by Rui Li Email at Monday, April 27, 2015 at 1:53 AM.