Half-day Workshop @ Humanoids 2014

November 18th, 9:00-13:00, Room: Junta 2

Welcome to the Home Page of the workshop on Anthropomorphic Robotic Hands: Design and Control 


Despite 40 years of research in the field of robotic hands, the reproduction of human capabilities for dexterous manipulation still seems far to be achieved by state-of-the-art technologies. From a design perspective, even defining what are the “optimal functionalities” of a robotic hand is a very challenging task due to the number of different requirements in terms of degrees of freedom, force, speed, compactness, robustness and so on.

In the specific fields of humanoid robotics and prosthetics, the robotic hand is expected to provide high flexibility and adaptability, ideally replicating the overall functionality of the human hand. The general perception, however, is that current robotic hands able to provide (even limited) human-like dexterity and functionalities are either too complex and expensive or too bulky and unreliable to truly represent effective solutions for the market, limiting their usage to research labs.

A closer look to the specific aspects involved in the development of a robotic hand shows that, even if the mechanical structure of the device is somehow inspired by the biological counterpart, a large range of solutions can be found for the implementation of joints, actuators and sensors, but none of those represents “the” solution to the specific problem.

Also from the point of view of control algorithms and user interfaces, the actual scenario is quite controversial, since the use of current robotic hands is in some way largely limited by the difficulties in task planning, problem that is sometimes amplified by the limited portability of the solutions developed for a specific hand to the others. The result is that only very specialized and well-trained experts can effectively use a specific robotic hand exploiting its full potential, while the generalization and the standardization of the robotic hand control problem is still a serious issue.

Objectives and Motivations of the Workshop

The main target of this workshop is to present the current state of the art but mainly actual trends in robotic hand design from the point of view of mechanisms, actuation, electronics/sensors and control algorithms. This will enforce the knowledge sharing inside the community of robotic hand developers, opening new design perspectives and focusing the main problems in the different development areas.

The main motivation of this workshop is to identify key issues and possible solutions for improving the dexterity, functionality, usability of anthropomorphic robotic hands, making them more affordable for applications in the industry, in everyday life and for the market. This will also represent an opportunity to strengthen the collaboration among different research groups and to create a larger consortium able to attract research interests and funds.

List of Invited Speakers

  1. Markus Grebenstein, DLR,

  2. Gianluca Palli, U. Bologna,

  3. Maximo Roa, DLR,

  4. Giorgio Metta, IIT,

  5. Maxime Chalon, DLR,

  6. Antonio Bicchi, U. Pisa,

  7. Daniel Greenwald, Shadow Robot Company,

  8. Marco Controzzi, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, founder of Prensilia,


Time Description
9:00 - 9:10 Introduction by the Organizers
9:10 - 9:30 M. Grebenstein, "Why the State of the Art Matters: The Importance of Functional Abstraction in Robot Hand Design"
9:30 - 9:50 G. Palli, "Tendon-Based Actuation for Anthropomorphic Robotic Hands"
9:50 - 10:10 M. Roa, "Functional Evaluation of Grasping and Manipulation Performance"
10:10 - 10:30 G. Metta, "Touch Sensing for the iCub Hand & Body"
10:30 - 10:50 M. Chalon, Controlling and Grasping with the DLR Hand Arm System"
10:50 - 11:20 Coffee Break
11:20 - 11:40 A. Bicchi, "Control of Soft Robots and Hands"
11:40 - 12:00 D. Greenwald, "Putting Robot Hands to Work"
12:00 - 12:20 M. Controzzi, "Ongoing research on the design and control of artificial hands for functional substitution"
12:20 - 12:50 Panel with Invited Speakers
12:50 - 13:00 Conclusions

Invited talks will be 20 min long (15 min talk + 5 in questions)