Frontier of
Embodiment Informatics:
ICT and Robotics

Top Global University Project: Waseda Goes Global - A Plan to Build a
Worldwide Academic Network that is Open, Dynamic and Diverse

Somlor Sophon

Portrait Visiting period February to April 2016
Visiting university Technical University of Munich
Visiting country and region Munich, Germany

Content of the study program

This project aimed to investigate the possibility of using a robotic hand installed with multimodal soft skin sensor which consists of 3-axis force sensor and vibration detection sensor for slip detection. We are developing a multimodal tactile sensor for robotic hand system. Institute for Cognitive Systems (ICS), Technical University of Munich (TUM) has well-established knowledge and experience about the distributed tactile sensor and the robotic hand/arm systems. Apart from developing a good relationship between Waseda University and TUM, we could cooperatively develop a robotics hand system that can detect force vector and slippage, and also have a soft outer layer for safe interaction with humans and fragile objects.

Study results

Many aspects of the robotic hand/arm system and the development of tactile sensor have been learned. In particular, I have learned about the Robot Operating System (ROS) which is very popular and very versatile software for controlling robotics system, and the control algorithm of a robotic hand. By testing the first prototype of the multimodal tactile sensor. It was found that the sensor without soft silicone rubber cover can detect the vibration created from the texture of test objects. Many possible and beneficial improvements that can be used to improve the performance of the sensor in the future version were also found. In particular, I have discovered the stability problem due to the insufficient power and the improper design of the sensor. The hardness and the texture of the silicone rubber cover used can be improved. Additionally, I have learned about several interesting researches in ICS. The members of ICS are very kind and always open to my question about their research.

My experience abroad

It is really my honor that I had received such a great chance to do my research and live abroad. I truly and really appreciate it. Being able to stay in a place with possess a very different culture and being able to work with multi-national people who are full of talent gave me a lot of inspirations, widen my vision both research-wise and daily-life-wise, and taught me countless of things that would be remain impossible if I did not receive such as great chance from SGU program. Additionally, I was able to go to several places both advance in technology and rich of culture.

Influence on my future career

I believe that I can make use of the several things I have learned both in research-wise and daily-life-wise. I have learned a lot about the advanced on-going researches both in ICS and from what the members had shared with me. I was taught about the way of thinking, how to approach the aim of the research, and about being more productive. Furthermore, being able to see how big and how advanced the world is have made me humbler, more curious to learn, and want to train myself harder in order to be able to catch up with the on-going technology and the direction the world, particularly, that of robotics is heading to.