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Gesture-Based Robot Control with Variable Autonomy from the JPL BiosleeveThis paper presents a new gesture-based human interface for natural robot control. Detailed activity of the user's hand and arm is acquired via a novel device, called the BioSleeve, which packages dry-contact surface electromyography (EMG) and an inertial measurement unit (IMU) into a sleeve worn on the forearm. The BioSleeve's accompanying algorithms can reliably decode as many as sixteen discrete hand gestures and estimate the continuous orientation of the forearm. These gestures and positions are mapped to robot commands that, to varying degrees, integrate with the robot's perception of its environment and its ability to complete tasks autonomously. This flexible approach enables, for example, supervisory point-to-goal commands, virtual joystick for guarded teleoperation, and high degree of freedom mimicked manipulation, all from a single device. The BioSleeve is meant for portable field use; unlike other gesture recognition systems, use of the
BioSleeve for robot control is invariant to lighting conditions, occlusions, and the human-robot spatial relationship and does not encumber the user's hands. The BioSleeve control approach has been implemented on three robot types, and we present proof-of-principle demonstrations with mobile ground robots, manipulation robots, and prosthetic hands.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
External Source(s)
Wolf, Michael T.
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Assad, Christopher
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Vernacchia, Matthew T.
(Massachusetts Inst. of Tech. Cambridge, MA, United States)
Fromm, Joshua
(California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Jethani, Henna L.
(Massachusetts Inst. of Tech. Cambridge, MA, United States)
Date Acquired
May 6, 2015
Publication Date
May 6, 2013
Subject Category
Cybernetics, Artificial Intelligence And Robotics
Meeting Information
2013 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA 2013)(Karlsruhe)
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
inertial measurement unit (IMU)
methods for gesture based robot control,

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