Bio-Inspired Soft Gripper with Mechanical Adhesion
Tuesday, October 06, 2020: 9:45 AM - 10:30 AM
Interacting with and manipulating objects is a complex task facing many autonomous systems. This paper discusses the use of soft robotic end effectors coupled with gecko-inspired mechanical adhesives as a low-cost, robust solution to this problem. The soft gripper actuates using a series of internal chambers and a working fluid, also known as pneumatic-network (PneuNets). This allows the gripper to compliantly manipulate delicate and complex objects without the use of advanced sensing or control. A robust and modular silicone-molding method was used to design and manufacture different soft gripper “finger” configurations for desired gripping characteristics. Testing shows resilience of soft grippers, even if punctured or torn. Incorporating gecko-inspired mechanical adhesives into the gripper allows for added capability for interacting with a variety of surfaces. Mechanical adhesives are reusable and are not subject to cure times like many traditional adhesives. The micro-structures in these mechanical adhesives mimic gecko toes and work on the principle of draped-adhesion, taking advantage of being able to distribute loads more evenly across a surface. Both manufactured and commercial-off-the-shelf mechanical adhesives were incorporated into the soft robotic gripper and their grip strengths were tested on smooth and porous complex and flat surfaces in air and underwater.
Engineering/Technical,Research & Development,Student