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In this paper we demonstrate an underactuated finger design and grasping method for precision grasping and manipulation of relatively small objects. Taking a cue from human manipulation, we introduce the flip-and-pinch task, in which the hand picks up thin objects from a table surface by flipping it into a stable configuration. Despite the fact that finger motions are not fully constrained by the hand actuators, we demonstrate that the hand and fingers can be configured with the table surface to produce a set of constraints that result in a repeatable quasi-static motion trajectory. This approach is shown to be robust for a variety of object sizes, even when utilizing identical open-loop kinematic playback. Experimental results suggest that the advantages of underactuated, adaptive robot hands can be carried over to dexterous, precision tasks as well.
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