On the choice of grasp type and location when handing over an object

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Science Robotics  13 Feb 2019:
Vol. 4, Issue 27, eaau9757
DOI: 10.1126/scirobotics.aau9757


The human hand is capable of performing countless grasps and gestures that are the basis for social activities. However, which grasps contribute the most to the manipulation skills needed during collaborative tasks, and thus which grasps should be included in a robot companion, is still an open issue. Here, we investigated grasp choice and hand placement on objects during a handover when subsequent tasks are performed by the receiver and when in-hand and bimanual manipulation are not allowed. Our findings suggest that, in this scenario, human passers favor precision grasps during such handovers. Passers also tend to grasp the purposive part of objects and leave “handles” unobstructed to the receivers. Intuitively, this choice allows receivers to comfortably perform subsequent tasks with the objects. In practice, many factors contribute to a choice of grasp, e.g., object and task constraints. However, not all of these factors have had enough emphasis in the implementation of grasping by robots, particularly the constraints introduced by a task, which are critical to the success of a handover. Successful robotic grasping is important if robots are to help humans with tasks. We believe that the results of this work can benefit the wider robotics community, with applications ranging from industrial cooperative manipulation to household collaborative manipulation.

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