Proximity Perception in Human-centered Robotics: A Survey on Sensing Systems and Applications

Publication from Robotics

Stefan Escaida Navarro, Stephan Mühlbacher-Karrer , Hosam Alagi, Hubert Zangl, Keisuke Koyama, Björn Hein, Christian Duriez, Joshua Smith

IEEE Transactions on Robotics, In press. hal-03156830 , 11/2021


Proximity perception is a technology that has the potential to play an essential role in the future of robotics. It can fulfill the promise of safe, robust, and autonomous systems in industry and everyday life, alongside humans, as well as in remote locations in space and underwater. In this survey paper, we cover the developments of this field from the early days up to the present, with a focus on human-centered robotics. Here, proximity sensors are typically deployed in two scenarios: first, on the exterior of manipulator arms to support safety and interaction functionality, and second, on the inside of grippers or hands to support grasping and exploration. Starting from this observation, we propose a categorization for the approaches found in the literature. To provide a basis for understanding these approaches, we devote effort to present the technologies and different measuring principles that were developed over the years, also providing a summary in form of a table. Then, we show the diversity of applications that have been presented in the literature. Finally, we give an overview of the most important trends that will shape the future of this domain.


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Keywords: Perception for Grasping and Manipulation, Collision Avoidance, Reactive and Sensor-Based Planning, Object Detection, Segmentation and Categorization