A tactile-controlled robot that makes possible precision inserting operations with a clearance of only a few microns is described. The principal part of this robot is the insertion control unit, which integrates positioning ability, sensibility, and flexibility, both mechanically and electronically. The most important feature of this robot is effective utilization of the flexible mechanism. A theoretical study proves the notable advantage of flexibility in precision inserting operations. As an insertion control algorithm suited flexibility, an adaptive search method that uses only one tactile sensor is developed. An experimental evaluation shows that a gentle and dexterous insertion simulating that of an experienced operator is possible using this control method. Computers are not used in operations; only a simple sequence controller is required.

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