How do humans control physical interactions with their environment?
Physical interaction with tools is ubiquitous in functional activities of daily living. While tool use is considered a hallmark of human behavior, how humans control such physical interactions is still poorly understood. When humans perform a motor task, it is commonly suggested that the central nervous system coordinates the musculo-skeletal system to minimize muscle effort. In this paper, we tested if this notion holds true for motor tasks that involve physical interaction. Specifically, we investigated whether humans minimize muscle forces to control physical interaction with a circular kinematic constraint. Using a simplified arm model, we derived three predictions for how humans should behave if they were minimizing muscular effort to perform the task. First, we predicted that subjects would exert workless, radial forces on the constraint. Second, we predicted that the muscles would be deactivated when they could not contribute to work. Third, we predicted that when moving very slowly along the constraint, the pattern of muscle activity would not differ between clockwise (CW) and counterclockwise (CCW) motions. To test these predictions, we instructed human subjects to move a robot handle around a virtual, circular constraint at a constant tangential velocity. To reduce the effect of forces that might arise from incomplete compensation of neuro-musculo-skeletal dynamics, the target tangential speed was set to an extremely slow pace (~1 revolution every 13.3 seconds). Ultimately, the results of human experiment did not support the predictions derived from our model of minimizing muscular effort. While subjects did exert workless forces, they did not deactivate muscles as predicted. Furthermore, muscle activation patterns differed between CW and CCW motions about the constraint. These findings demonstrate that minimizing muscle effort is not a significant factor in human performance of this constrained-motion task. Instead, the central nervous system likely prioritizes reducing other costs, such as computational effort, over muscle effort to control physical interactions.
Abstract: Motion planning in high dimensional state spaces, such as for mobile manipulation, is a challenging problem. Constrained manipulation, e.g., opening articulated objects like doors or drawers, is also hard since sampling states on the constrained manifold is expensive. Further, planning for such tasks requires a combination of planning in free space for reaching a desired grasp or contact location followed by planning for the constrained manipulation motion, often necessitating a slow two step process in traditional approaches. In this work, we show that combined planning for such tasks can be dramatically accelerated by providing user demonstrations of the constrained manipulation motions. In particular, we show how such demonstrations can be incorporated into a recently developed framework of planning with experience graphs which encode and reuse previous experiences. We focus on tasks involving articulation constraints, e.g., door opening or drawer opening, where the motion of the object itself involves only a single degree of freedom. We provide experimental results with the PR2 robot opening a variety of such articulated objects using our approach, using full-body manipulation (after receiving kinesthetic demonstrations). We also provide simulated results highlighting the benefits of our approach for constrained manipulation tasks.
Pub.: 21 Jun '15, Pinned: 12 Sep '17
Abstract: This paper considers dynamical systems described by Hamilton’s equations. It deals with the development of the explicit equations of motion for such systems when constraints are imposed on them. Such explicit equations do not appear to have been obtained hereto. The holonomic and/or nonholonomic constraints imposed can be nonlinear functions of the canonical momenta, the coordinates, and time, and they can be functionally dependent. These explicit equations of motion for constrained systems are obtained through the development of the connection between the Lagrangian concept of virtual displacements and Hamiltonian dynamics. A simple three-step approach for obtaining the explicit equations of motion of constrained Hamiltonian systems is presented. Four examples are provided illustrating the ease and simplicity with which these equations can be obtained by using the proposed three-step approach.
Pub.: 31 Dec '15, Pinned: 12 Sep '17
Abstract: In order to operate various constrained mechanisms with assistive robot manipulators, an interactive control algorithm is proposed in this paper. This method decouples motion and force control in the constrained frame, and modifies the motion velocity online. Firstly, the constrained frame is determined online according to previous motion direction; then the selection matrix is adjusted dynamically, the constrained motion direction is choosen as the driving-axis. Consequently, the driving-axis and non-driving-axis are decoupled; finally, velocity control and impedance control are implied on above axes respectively. The selecting threshold for driving-axis is also varying dynamically to fit different constrained mechanism. Door-opening experiments are conducted to verify the performance of the proposed method.
Pub.: 20 Oct '16, Pinned: 12 Sep '17
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