Advanced soft grippers

Introduction

Grasping has been a risky task for robots specifically, when they need to handle and manipulate soft and delicate objects, for instance, picking-up a ripe fruit during harvesting. Robots that are made of soft and compliant material having the functional properties similar to Natural species like human hand are able to perform delicate handling.

A general and fundamental approach to grasp an object is to envelop the object via fingers of a gripper, apply required normal force sufficient to win the load of the object against gravity and then manipulation. However, applying large gripping force is risky for a soft object. Incorporating controlled interfacial properties such as adhesion/friction could be a solution, think about a hand incorporated with the ability of controlled adhesion similar to Gecko. This type of robotic hand not only will allow safe grasping but also will start a new generation of robots to do multitasking like climbing a vertical wall or walking on ceiling.

Fig. 1 - A picture captured while performing gripping by Robotiq 2 finger 140 adaptive gripper (a) gripping by the adaptability of the arms and (b) gripping by in parallel plate configuration.
Fig. 1 - A picture captured while performing gripping by Robotiq 2 finger 140 adaptive gripper (a) gripping by the adaptability of the arms and (b) gripping by in parallel plate configuration.

Aim of the project

In this project you will be involved mainly in the experimental work. You will combine two research lines going on two labs in Wageningen, Physical chemistry and soft matter (PCC) group and Farm technology department. Current research on soft adhesive interfaces is going on in the PCC group while modeling and preparation of advanced soft grippers is going on in Farm technology department. You will perform the fundamental experiments of gripping, find out the gripping protocol and capabilities and limitations. For the starting you will take benefit of an existing Robotiq 2 finger gripper (bought from Robotiq), see pictures in figure 1 to perform gripping with and without adhesive interfaces. You will also be involved in preparation methods for adhesives and grippers individually along with haptic sensing element if required. Afterwards, you will use your know-how approach to explore a gripping using a completely soft and adaptive gripper combined with adhesive interfaces.

At the end of this project based on your findings, you will be able to answer if combining the adhesive interfaces is a solution for better and safe gripping towards soft objects? And can it be used for pick and place application for real food products like ripe vegetables and fruits.

Methods/Techniques to be used

• 3D printers and molding
• Adhesion meter, rheometer
• Robotiq 2-Finger 140 adaptive gripper
• Matlab/Labview DAQ

This thesis proposal is an opportunity for a student to work on an existing research project going on in our lab and contribute significantly with possible outcomes in scientific community. Do not hesitate to contact if you want to know more about the project or want to do a visit.

Contact person

Please write to Preeti Sharma or Ali Leylavi for further questions.