169. a soft robotic gripper capable of in-hand manipulation augmented with soft sensor skin for tactile sensing

Department: Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering
Research Institute Affiliation: Center for Control Systems and Dynamics (CCSD)
Faculty Advisor(s): Michael T. Tolley | Henrik I. Christensen
Award(s): Honorable Mention

Primary Student
Name: Benjamin Shih
Email: beshih@ucsd.edu
Phone: 301-758-0826
Grad Year: 2020

Robots are becoming increasingly prevalent in our society in forms where they are assisting or interacting with humans in a variety of environments, and thus they must have the ability to sense and detect objects by touch. In these activities of daily living, in-hand manipulation is an important capability. We present a soft robotic gripper capable of in-hand manipulation composed of silicone pneumatic actuator modules that function as fingers. First, we investigate how the design of the actuator modules impact bend angle and motion. Each soft finger is molded using a silicone elastomer material, and consists of three pneumatic chambers which can be inflated independently to achieve a range of complex motions. Three fingers are combined to form a soft robotic gripper. Then, we manufacture and attach modular, flexible sensory skins on each finger to measure bends and contact. These sensor measurements are used in conjunction with an analytical model to construct 2D and 3D tactile object models. Our results are a step towards soft robot grippers capable of a complex range of motions and proprioception, which will help future robots better understand the environments with which they interact, and has the potential to increase physical safety in human-robot interaction.

Industry Application Area(s)
Control Systems | Materials | Robotics

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