Modeling and prototyping of a soft closed-chain modular gripper

Muddasar Anwar (Aerospace Research and Innovation Center (ARIC), Khalifa University of Science Technology, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates and School of Natural and Built Environment, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast, UK)
Toufik Al Khawli (Aerospace Research and Innovation Center (ARIC), Khalifa University of Science Technology, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates)
Irfan Hussain (Khalifa University Center for Autonomous Robotic Systems (KUCARS), Khalifa University of Science Technology, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates)
Dongming Gan (Department of Mechanical Engineering, Khalifa University of Science Technology, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates and Khalifa University Center for Autonomous Robotic Systems (KUCARS), Khalifa University of Science Technology, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates)
Federico Renda (Department of Mechanical Engineering, Khalifa University of Science Technology, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates and Khalifa University Center for Autonomous Robotic Systems (KUCARS), Khalifa University of Science Technology, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates)

Industrial Robot

ISSN: 0143-991x

Publication date: 21 January 2019

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to present a soft closed-chain modular gripper for robotic pick-and-place applications. The proposed biomimetic gripper design is inspired by the Fin Ray effect, derived from fish fins physiology. It is composed of three axisymmetric fingers, actuated with a single actuator. Each finger has a modular under-actuated closed-chain structure. The finger structure is compliant in contact normal direction, with stiff crossbeams reorienting to help the finger structure conform around objects.

Design/methodology/approach

Starting with the design and development of the proposed gripper, a consequent mathematical representation consisting of closed-chain forward and inverse kinematics is detailed. The proposed mathematical framework is validated through the finite element modeling simulations. Additionally, a set of experiments was conducted to compare the simulated and prototype finger trajectories, as well as to assess qualitative grasping ability.

Findings

Key Findings are the presented mathematical model for closed-loop chain mechanisms, as well as design and optimization guidelines to develop controlled closed-chain grippers.

Research limitations/implications

The proposed methodology and mathematical model could be taken as a fundamental modular base block to explore similar distributed degrees of freedom (DOF) closed-chain manipulators and grippers. The enhanced kinematic model contributes to optimized dynamics and control of soft closed-chain grasping mechanisms.

Practical implications

The approach is aimed to improve the development of soft grippers that are required to grasp complex objects found in human–robot cooperation and collaborative robot (cobot) applications.

Originality/value

The proposed closed-chain mathematical framework is based on distributed DOFs instead of the conventional lumped joint approach. This is to better optimize and understand the kinematics of soft robotic mechanisms.

Keywords

Citation

Anwar, M., Khawli, T., Hussain, I., Gan, D. and Renda, F. (2019), "Modeling and prototyping of a soft closed-chain modular gripper", Industrial Robot, Vol. 46 No. 1, pp. 135-145. https://doi.org/10.1108/IR-09-2018-0180

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Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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