Imperial College London

Qiujie (Icey) Lu

Faculty of EngineeringDyson School of Design Engineering

Research Postgraduate







Dyson BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





Publication Type

6 results found

Wang J, Lu Q, Clark A, Rojas Net al., 2020, A passively complaint idler mechanism for underactuated dexterous grippers with dynamic tendon routing, Towards Autonomous Robotic Systems Conference (TAROS ) 2020, Publisher: Springer Verlag, ISSN: 0302-9743

n the field of robotic hands, tendon actuation is one of themost common ways to control self-adaptive underactuated fingers thanksto its compact size. Either differential or direct drive mechanisms areusually used in these systems to perform synchronised grasping using asingle actuator. However, synchronisation problems arise in underactu-ated grippers whose position of proximal joints varies with time to per-form manipulation operations, as this results in a tendon-driven systemwith dynamic anchor pulleys. This paper introduces a novel passivelycomplaint idler mechanism to avoid unsynchronisation in grippers witha dynamic multi-tendon routing system, such that adequate graspingcontact forces are kept under changes in the proximal joints’ positions.A re-configurable palm underactuated dexterous gripper is used as acase study, with the performance of the proposed compliant idler systembeing evaluated and compared through a contact force analysis duringrotation and translation in-hand manipulation tasks. Experiment resultsclearly demonstrate the ability of the mechanism to synchronise a dy-namic tendon routing gripper. A video summarising experiments andfindings can be found at

Conference paper

Lu Q, Baron N, Clark A, Rojas Net al., 2020, The RUTH Gripper: systematic object-invariant prehensile in-hand manipulation via reconfigurable underactuation, Robotics: Science and Systems, Publisher: RSS

We introduce a reconfigurable underactuated robothand able to perform systematic prehensile in-hand manipu-lations regardless of object size or shape. The hand utilisesa two-degree-of-freedom five-bar linkage as the palm of thegripper, with three three-phalanx underactuated fingers—jointlycontrolled by a single actuator—connected to the mobile revolutejoints of the palm. Three actuators are used in the robot handsystem, one for controlling the force exerted on objects by thefingers and two for changing the configuration of the palm.This novel layout allows decoupling grasping and manipulation,facilitating the planning and execution of in-hand manipulationoperations. The reconfigurable palm provides the hand withlarge grasping versatility, and allows easy computation of amap between task space and joint space for manipulation basedon distance-based linkage kinematics. The motion of objects ofdifferent sizes and shapes from one pose to another is thenstraightforward and systematic, provided the objects are keptgrasped. This is guaranteed independently and passively by theunderactuated fingers using a custom tendon routing method,which allows no tendon length variation when the relative fingerbase position changes with palm reconfigurations. We analysethe theoretical grasping workspace and manipulation capabilityof the hand, present algorithms for computing the manipulationmap and in-hand manipulation planning, and evaluate all theseexperimentally. Numerical and empirical results of several ma-nipulation trajectories with objects of different size and shapeclearly demonstrate the viability of the proposed concept.

Conference paper

He L, Lu Q, Abad S-A, Rojas N, Nanayakkara DPTet al., 2020, Soft fingertips with tactile sensing and active deformation for robust grasping of delicate objects, IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, Vol: 5, Pages: 2714-2721, ISSN: 2377-3766

Soft fingertips have shown significant adaptability for grasping a wide range of object shapes, thanks to elasticity. This ability can be enhanced to grasp soft, delicate objects by adding touch sensing. However, in these cases, the complete restraint and robustness of the grasps have proved to be challenging, as the exertion of additional forces on the fragile object can result in damage. This letter presents a novel soft fingertip design for delicate objects based on the concept of embedded air cavities, which allow the dual ability of tactile sensing and active shape-changing. The pressurized air cavities act as soft tactile sensors to control gripper position from internal pressure variation; and active fingertip deformation is achieved by applying positive pressure to these cavities, which then enable a delicate object to be kept securely in position, despite externally applied forces, by form closure. We demonstrate this improved grasping capability by comparing the displacement of grasped delicate objects exposed to high-speed motions. Results show that passive soft fingertips fail to restrain fragile objects at accelerations as low as 0.1 m/s 2 , in contrast, with the proposed fingertips delicate objects are completely secure even at accelerations of more than 5 m/s 2 .

Journal article

Lu Q, Clark A, Shen M, Rojas Net al., 2020, An origami-inspired variable friction surface for increasing the dexterity of robotic grippers, IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, Vol: 5, Pages: 2538-2545, ISSN: 2377-3766

While the grasping capability of robotic grippers has shown significant development, the ability to manipulate objects within the hand is still limited. One explanation for this limitation is the lack of controlled contact variation between the grasped object and the gripper. For instance, human hands have the ability to firmly grip object surfaces, as well as slide over object faces, an aspect that aids the enhanced manipulation of objects within the hand without losing contact. In this letter, we present a parametric, origami-inspired thin surface capable of transitioning between a high friction and a low friction state, suitable for implementation as an epidermis in robotic fingers. A numerical analysis of the proposed surface based on its design parameters, force analysis, and performance in in-hand manipulation tasks is presented. Through the development of a simple two-fingered two-degree-of-freedom gripper utilizing the proposed variable-friction surfaces with different parameters, we experimentally demonstrate the improved manipulation capabilities of the hand when compared to the same gripper without changeable friction. Results show that the pattern density and valley gap are the main parameters that effect the in-hand manipulation performance. The origami-inspired thin surface with a higher pattern density generated a smaller valley gap and smaller height change, producing a more stable improvement of the manipulation capabilities of the hand.

Journal article

Lu Q, Liang H, Nanayakkara DPT, Rojas Net al., 2020, Precise in-hand manipulation of soft objects using soft fingertips with tactile sensing and active deformation, IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics, Publisher: IEEE

While soft fingertips have shown significant development for grasping tasks, its ability to facilitate the manipulation of objects within the hand is still limited. Thanks to elasticity, soft fingertips enhance the ability to grasp soft objects. However, the in-hand manipulation of these objects has proved to be challenging, with both soft fingertips and traditional designs, as the control of coordinated fine fingertip motions and uncertainties for soft materials are intricate. This paper presents a novel technique for in-hand manipulating soft objects with precision. The approach is based on enhancing the dexterity of robot hands via soft fingertips with tactile sensing and active shape changing; such that pressurized air cavities act as soft tactile sensors to provide closed loop control of fingertip position and avoid object’s damage, and pneumatic-tuned positive-pressure deformations act as a localized soft gripper to perform additional translations and rotations. We model the deformation of the soft fingertips to predict the in-hand manipulation of soft objects and experimentally demonstrate the resulting in-hand manipulationcapabilities of a gripper of limited dexterity with an algorithm based on the proposed dual abilities. Results show that the introduced approach can ease and enhance the prehensile in-hand translation and rotation of soft objects for precision tasks across the hand workspace, without damage.

Conference paper

Lu Q, Rojas N, 2019, On soft fingertips for in-hand manipulation: modelling and implications for robot hand design, IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, Vol: 4, Pages: 2471-2478, ISSN: 2377-3766

Contact models for soft fingertips are able to precisely computedeformation when information about contact forces and object position is known, thus improving the traditional soft finger contact model. However, the functionality of these approaches for the study of in-hand manipulation with robot hands has been shown to be limited, since the location of the manipulated object is uncertain due to compliance and closed-loop constraints. This paper presents a novel, tractable approach for contact modelling of soft fingertips in within-hand dexterous manipulation settings. The proposed method is based on a relaxation of the kinematic equivalent of point contact with friction, modelling the interaction between fingertips and objects as joints with clearances rather than ideal instances, and then approximating clearances via affine arithmetic to facilitate computation. These ideas are introduced using planar manipulation to aid discussion, and are used to predict the reachable workspace of a two-fingered robot hand with fingertips of different hardness and geometry. Numerical and empirical experiments are conducted to analyse the effects of soft fingertips on manipulation operability; results demonstrate the functionality of the proposed approach, as well as a tradeoff between hardness and depth in soft fingertips to achieve better manipulation performance of dexterous robot hands.

Journal article

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