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A Novel Variable Stiffness Soft Robotic Gripper

Research paper by Dimuthu D. Arachchige, Yue Chen, Ian D. Walker, Isuru S. Godage

Indexed on: 23 Oct '20Published on: 22 Oct '20Published in: arXiv - Computer Science - Robotics



Abstract

We propose a novel tri-fingered soft robotic gripper with decoupled stiffness and shape control capability for performing adaptive grasping with minimum system complexity. The proposed soft fingers adaptively conform to object shapes facilitating the handling of objects of different types, shapes, and sizes. Each soft gripper finger has an inextensible articulable backbone and is actuated by pneumatic muscles. We derive a kinematic model of the gripper and use an empirical approach to map input pressures to stiffness and bending deformation of fingers. We use these mappings to achieve decoupled stiffness and shape control. We conduct tests to quantify the ability to hold objects as the gripper changes orientation, the ability to maintain the grasping status as the gripper moves, and the amount of force required to release the object from the gripped fingers, respectively. The results validate the proposed gripper's performance and show how stiffness control can improve the grasping quality.