Reliable robotic handovers through tactile sensing

Augusto Gomez, Ignacio Rano, Sonya Coleman, T.Martin McGinnity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
65 Downloads (Pure)


Joint manipulation and object exchange are common in many everyday scenarios. Although they are trivial tasks for humans, they are still very challenging for robots. Existing approaches for robot-to-human object handover assume that there is no fault during the transfer. However, unintentional perturbation forces can be occasionally applied to the object, resulting in the robot and the object being damaged, for example by being dropped. In this paper we present a novel approach to handover objects in a reliable manner while ensuring the safety of the robot and the object. Relying on tactile sensing, the system uses an effort controller to adapt the grasp forces in the presence of perturbations. Moreover, the proposed approach identifies a perturbation being applied on the object. When a perturbation event is detected, the algorithm classifies the direction of the pulling forces to decide whether to release it or not. The reliable handover system was implemented using a Shadow Robot hand equipped with BioTAC tactile sensors. Our results show that the system correctly adapts to the forces applied on the object to maintain the grasp and only releases the object if the human receiver pulls in the right direction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1623-1637
Number of pages15
JournalAutonomous Robots
Issue number7
Early online date2 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 15 Oct 2019


  • Reliable object handovers
  • Dexterous robot
  • Robotic handovers
  • Tactile sensing


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