Soft pneumatic grippers embedded with stretchable electroadhesion
journal contributionposted on 26.03.2018 by Jianglong Guo, Khaled Elgeneidy, Chaoqun Xiang, Niels Lohse, Laura Justham, Jonathan Rossiter
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Current soft pneumatic grippers cannot robustly grasp flat and flexible objects on curved surfaces without distorting them. Current electroadhesive grippers, on the other hand, cannot actively deform to complex shapes to pick up free-form surfaces or objects. An easy-to-implement PneuEA gripper is proposed by the combination the integration of an electroadhesive gripper and a two-fingered soft pneumatic gripper. The electroadhesive gripper was fabricated by segmenting a soft conductive silicon sheet into a two-part electrode design and embedding it in a soft dielectric elastomer. The two-fingered soft pneumatic gripper was manufactured using a standard soft lithography approach. This novel integration has combined the benefits of both the electroadhesive and soft pneumatic grippers. As a result, the proposed PneuEA gripper was not only able to pick-and-place flat and flexible materials such as a porous cloth but also delicate objects such as a light bulb. By combining two soft touch sensors with the electroadhesive, an intelligent and shape-adaptive PneuEA material handling system has been developed. This work is expected to widen the applications of both soft gripper and electroadhesion technologies.
The authors acknowledge support from the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Intelligent Automation, under grant reference number EP/IO33467/1, for undertaking the work presented in section 2 and 3. In addition, the authors acknowledge support from the EPSRC Fellowship project (Soft robotic technologies for next-generation bio-integrative medical devices), under grant reference numbers: EP/M020460/1 and EP/M026388/1, for undertaking the work presented in section 4.
- Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering