Design, Prototyping, and Evaluation of Two Dexterous Multi-Segment Pneumatic Soft Robot Grippers

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The Ohio State University

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Soft robot grippers have become a popular research topic in recent years. Unlike traditional mechanical grippers, soft robot grippers utilize the deformable properties of their soft materials to envelop target objects through deformation, thus achieving grasping suitable for various shapes. Moreover, robots made of soft materials can enhance the safety of interactions with humans. This paper will introduce two prototypes of pneumatic soft robotic gripper designs. The first prototype features a gripper with two air chambers, while the second prototype has three air chambers. The paper aims to detail the design and fabrication process of two multi-segmented fingers and focuses on evaluating the performance of the two-segment gripper. The evaluation includes conducting flexibility tests in three distinct ways: testing the curvature of the grippers under different input pressures, assessing stiffness variations, and controlling the pressure difference in each air chamber to conduct a grasping adaptability test. The results showed that this two-segment soft finger prototype exhibited strong adaptability in grasping items of varying shapes and sizes and demonstrated a high degree of flexibility when continuously rotating objects. Each segment was able to withstand a maximum pressure of 25 psi and execute bending commands in less than 1 second. In summary, this study explores the complementary balance between the fabrication of multi-air chamber soft robotic fingers and their flexibility and grasping strength. The study further illustrates that through optimized design, soft robotic fingers can perform complex operating tasks without the need for sensors and complex control systems. This further illustrates the ease of operation of soft robotic fingers in daily life and is a step closer to widespread application in the future.



soft robotics, soft-robotic gripper, soft pneumatic actuator, design and fabrication