On the Manipulation of Articulated Objects in Human-Robot Cooperation Scenarios

Alessio Capitanelli, Marco Maratea, Fulvio Mastrogiovanni, Mauro Vallati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Articulated and flexible objects constitute a challenge for robot manipulation tasks, but are present in different real-world settings, including home and industrial environments. Current approaches to the manipulation of articulated and flexible objects employ ad hoc strategies to sequence and perform actions on them depending on a number of physical or geometrical characteristics related to those objects, as well as on an a priori classification of target object configurations.

In this paper, we propose an action planning and execution framework, which (i) considers abstract representations of articulated or flexible objects, (ii) integrates action planning to reason upon such configurations and to sequence an appropriate set of actions with the aim of obtaining a target configuration provided as a goal, and (iii) is able to cooperate with humans to collaboratively carry out the plan.

On the one hand, we show that a trade-off exists between the way articulated or flexible objects are perceived and how the system represents them. Such a trade-off greatly impacts on the complexity of the planning process. On the other hand, we demonstrate the system’s capabilities in allowing humans to interrupt robot action execution, and –in general –to contribute to the whole manipulation process.

Results related to planning performance are discussed, and examples with a Baxter dual-arm manipulator performing actions collaboratively with humans are shown.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-155
Number of pages17
JournalRobotics and Autonomous Systems
Early online date31 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018


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