How Does a Robot Know Where to Step? Measuring the Hardness and Roughness of Surfaces
General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception Laboratory
This paper presents an overview of ongoing research on surface exploration at the GRASP Lab. We are investigating the necessary components and modules that must be embedded into a robot for it to have the exploratory capabilities required to recover mechanical properties from a surface given minimal a priori information. Eventually, this information will be used to enable a robot stand and walk stably in an environment that is unknown and unconstrained. The laboratory setup involves a compliant wrist with six degrees of freedom, mounted on a robot arm, and a prototype foot mounted on the wrist. We have successfully designed and implemented exploratory procedures (ep's) to recover penetrability, material hardness and frictional characteristics by exploring the surface.