What is iTaSC?

The iTaSC-Skill framework

iTaSC stands for instantaneous Task Specification using Constraints, which is developed at the K.U.Leuven during the past years [1,2,5].

The framework generates motions by specifying constraints in geometric, dynamic or sensor-space between the robots and their environment. These motion specifications constrain the relationships between objects (object frames) and their features (feature frames). Established robot motion specification formalisms such as the Operational Space Approach [3], the Task Function Approach [6], the Task Frame Formalism [4], Cartesian Space control, and Joint Space control are special cases of iTaSC and can be specified using the generic iTaSC methodology.

The key advantages of iTaSC over traditional motion specification methodologies are:

  1. composability of partial constraints: multiple constraints can be combined, hence the constraints can be partial, they do not have to constrain the full 6D relation between two objects;
  2. reusability of constraint specification: the constraints specify a relation between feature frames, that have a semantic meaning in the context of a task, implying that the same task specification can be reused on different objects;
  3. automatic derivation of the control solution: the iTaSC methodology generates a robot motion that optimizes the constraints by automatically deriving the controllers from that constraint specification.
  4. weights and priorities: different constraints can be weighted or given priorities.

These advantages imply that the framework can be used for any robotic system, with a wide variety of sensors.

In order not to be limited to one single instantaneous motion specification, several iTaSC specifications can be glued together via a so-called Skill that coordinates the execution of multiple iTaSCs, and configures their parameters. Consequently, the framework separates the continuous level of motion specification from the discrete level of coordination and configuration. One skill coordinates a limited set of constraints, that together form a functional motion. Finite State Machines implement the skill functionality.

This framework is implemented in the iTaSC software.


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