Unsupervised Feature Learning for Classifying Dynamic Tactile Events Using Sparse Coding

Date of Conference:

Electronic ISBN:

16-21 May 2016


Conference Location:


Stockholm, Sweden


Robotic operations that involve the displacement of objects generate different kinds of dynamic events. These may simply correspond to normal robot-related motion, or contact(s) with the object(s) during grasping, but they may also be potentially-problematic events like slippage. In this paper, we use sparse data from tactile sensors to detect slippage and discriminate object-gripper slip from object-world slip. The method we propose can also identify vibrations that correspond to other dynamic events automatically, even when those events are not related to slippage. The tactile data can then be classified, allowing the robot to react accordingly. To achieve this goal, we compute the power spectral density (PSD) of the tactile dynamic signal, and we apply transformations to the PSD that were inspired by the automatic speech recognition (ASR) field. The originality of this work comes from using a sparse representation of the transformed data to obtain sparse vectors containing a small set of high-level features. Those sparse vectors are then used as inputs to a simple linear support vector machine (SVM), that acts as a classifier and quickly estimates the event to which they correspond. Our method was tested on data obtained from 244 experiments that were conducted on 32 different everyday-objects. Results show that we can successfully discriminate most of the dynamic events we studied in this work. Moreover, by using this technique, we are able to detect slippage with an accuracy of 92.60% and to differentiate object-gripper slip from object-world slip with a success rate of 89.42%.