Robust contact force controller for slip prevention in a robotic gripper

Grasping a soft or fragile object requires the use of minimum contact force to prevent damage or deformation. Without precise knowledge of object parameters, real-time feedback control must be used with a suitable slip sensor to regulate the contact force and prevent slip. Furthermore, the controller must be designed to have good performance characteristics to rapidly modulate the fingertip contact force in response to a slip event. In this paper, a fuzzy sliding mode controller combined with a disturbance observer is proposed for contact force control and slip prevention. The controller is based on a system model that is suitable for a wide class of robotic gripper configurations. The robustness of the controller is evaluated through both simulation and experiment. The control scheme was found to be effective and robust to parameter uncertainty. When tested on a real system, however, chattering phenomena, well known to sliding mode research, was induced by the unmodelled suboptimal components of the system (filtering, backlash, and time delays), and the controller performance was reduced.