Friday, 21 August 2015

A novel type of compliant and underactuated robotic hand for dexterous grasping

The usefulness and versatility of a robotic end-effector depends on the diversity of grasps it can accomplish and also on the complexity of the control methods required to achieve them. We believe that soft hands are able to provide diverse and robust grasping with low control complexity. They possess many mechanical degrees of freedom and are able to implement complex deformations. At the same time, due to the inherent compliance of soft materials, only very few of these mechanical degrees have to be controlled explicitly. Soft hands therefore may combine the best of both worlds. In this paper, we present RBO Hand 2, a highly compliant, underactuated, robust, and dexterous anthropomorphic hand. The hand is inexpensive to manufacture and the morphology can easily be adapted to specific applications. To enable efficient hand design, we derive and evaluate computational models for the mechanical properties of the hand’s basic building blocks, called PneuFlex actuators. The versatility of RBO Hand 2 is evaluated by implementing the comprehensive Feix taxonomy of human grasps. The manipulator’s capabilities and limits are demonstrated using the Kapandji test and grasping experiments with a variety of objects of varying weight. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the effective dimensionality of grasp postures exceeds the dimensionality of the actuation signals, illustrating that complex grasping behavior can be achieved with relatively simple control.

from robot theory


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