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Soft Fingertips with Tactile Sensing and Active Deformation for Robust Grasping of Delicate Objects

He, L; Lu, Q; Abad, S-A; Rojas, N; Nanayakkara, T; (2020) Soft Fingertips with Tactile Sensing and Active Deformation for Robust Grasping of Delicate Objects. IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters 10.1109/lra.2020.2972851. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Soft fingertips have shown significant adaptability for grasping a wide range of object shapes thanks to elasticity. This ability can be enhanced to grasp soft, delicate objects by adding touch sensing. However, in these cases, the complete restraint and robustness of the grasps have proved to be challenging, as the exertion of additional forces on the fragile object can result in damage. This paper presents a novel soft fingertip design for delicate objects based on the concept of embedded air cavities, which allow the dual ability of adaptive sensing and active shape changing. The pressurized air cavities act as soft tactile sensors to control gripper position from internal pressure variation; and active fingertip deformation is achieved by applying positive pressure to these cavities, which then enable a delicate object to be kept securely in position, despite externally applied forces, by form closure. We demonstrate this improved grasping capability by comparing the displacement of grasped delicate objects exposed to high-speed motions. Results show that passive soft fingertips fail to restrain fragile objects at accelerations as low as 0.1m/s2 , in contrast, with the proposed fingertips, delicate objects are completely secure even at accelerations of more than 5m/s2 .

Type: Article
Title: Soft Fingertips with Tactile Sensing and Active Deformation for Robust Grasping of Delicate Objects
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1109/lra.2020.2972851
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1109/lra.2020.2972851
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Soft Sensors and Actuators, Grasping, Gripper and Other End-Effectors
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Mechanical Engineering
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10091251
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