Ph.D. Proposal Presentation by Mudasir Ahmad
Thursday, May 31, 2001

(Dr. Kok-Meng Lee, advisor)

"Modeling for Automation of Live Object Grasping"


This proposal addresses the problem of transferring live objects from a conveyor to a processing line. One of the most fundamental tasks in the automated transfer of live objects is to design and control a grasping system that is capable of accommodating a specified range of objects without causing damages. Unlike grasping in robotic research that focuses on dexterous manipulation of a single object, repetitive transfer of live objects in a production line requires continuous grasping at high-speed.

Flexible rotating fingers are often used in handling live birds. As compared to fingers with multiple active joints, flexible fingers have many potential advantages, which include lightweight and no relative individual moving parts in each of the fingers. The ability to accommodate a limited range of varying sizes, shapes, and some objectís natural reaction makes flexible fingers an attractive candidate for use in a production setting. The advantages of flexible fingers are seldom exploited for grasping, however, because of complicated analysis involved in their design. The proposed thesis will begin with developing an analytical model to determine the contact kinematics and the corresponding reaction force between a set of flexible rotating fingers and a moving object in three-dimensional space. The second task will develop a design algorithm, upon which an optimal set of design and operating parameters will be suggested. The final task will involve verifying the model and evaluating the performance characteristics of the grasper.

It is expected that this thesis will provide a good understanding of mechanical grasping of a singulated live object. It will provide an essential basis for design optimization of a flexible grasper such that the effects of the optimal parameters can be systematically studied during the design process, which could reduce the number of hardware prototype configurations to be built, and the number of live birds to be evaluated.