Pneumatic Shape-shifting Fingers to Reorient and Grasp

by   Nikhil Chavan Dafle, et al.

We present pneumatic shape-shifting fingers to enable a simple parallel-jaw gripper for different manipulation modalities. By changing the finger geometry, the gripper effectively changes the contact type between the fingers and an object to facilitate distinct manipulation primitives. In this paper, we demonstrate the development and application of shape-shifting fingers to reorient and grasp cylindrical objects. The shape of the fingers changes based on the air pressure inside them and attains two distinct geometric forms at high and low pressure values. In our implementation, the finger shape switches between a wedge-shaped geometry and V-shaped geometry at high and low pressure, respectively. Using the wedge-shaped geometry, the fingers provide a point contact on a cylindrical object to pivot it to a vertical pose under the effect of gravity. By changing to V-shaped geometry, the fingers localize the object in the vertical pose and securely hold it. Experimental results show that the smooth transition between the two contact types allows a robot with a simple gripper to reorient a cylindrical object lying horizontally on a ground and to grasp it in a vertical pose.


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