D. Blanco-Mulero, G. Alcan, F. J. Abu-Dakka, V. Kyrki
Accepted to IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems 2023
Publication date: 2023

Pre-defined manipulation primitives are widely used for cloth manipulation. However, cloth properties such as its stiffness or density can highly impact the performance of these primitives. Although existing solutions have tackled the parameterisation of pick and place locations, the effect of factors such as the velocity or trajectory of quasi-static and dynamic manipulation primitives has been neglected. Choosing appropriate values for these parameters is crucial to cope with the range of materials present in house-hold cloth objects. To address this challenge, we introduce the Quasi-Dynamic Parameterisable (QDP) method, which optimises parameters such as the motion velocity in addition to the pick and place positions of quasi-static and dynamic manipulation primitives. In this work, we leverage the framework of Sequential Reinforcement Learning to decouple sequentially the parameters that compose the primitives. To evaluate the effectiveness of the method we focus on the task of cloth unfolding with a robotic arm in simulation and real-world experiments. Our results in simulation show that by deciding the optimal parameters for the primitives the performance can improve by 20% compared to sub-optimal ones. Real-world results demonstrate the advantage of modifying the velocity and height of manipulation primitives for cloths with different mass, stiffness, shape and size.

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