Soft Robotic Hand for Dexterous Grasping and In-Hand Manipulation

Next generation of intrinsically safe robotic hand for handling delicate objects, which is suitable for packing, picking services in retail and food industry.
Description of the Project: 


Despite recent advances in dexterous robotic hands and adaptive robotics grippers, very few affordable robotic hands are available for handling a variety of delicate objects in manufacture and retail sectors as well as in our daily life.

Project description

The project addresses the safe robotic grasping and manipulation via compliant embodiment in the robotic hand, which will exploit the use of soft and compliant materials and unconventional fabrication methods.

This project will cover the design, development and testing of a soft robotic hand for dexterous grasping and in-hand manipulation of a class of delicate and/or deformable objects.

Recent advances in meso-grippers, reconfigurable mechanisms, compliant mechanisms, soft material and robots, variable-stiffness robots, and novel sensors provide a solid starting point for developing a novel affordable dexterous robotic hand. The new emerging AI tools will be utilised as an innovative approach for 

mechanical design optimisation using realistic physics simulation. Deep learning will be used for part recognition, and deep reinforcement learning will be studied to control the soft robotic hand that is difficult to be control by model-based methods.

The soft robotic hand will be tested for grasping and manipulating at least one class of soft/deformable objects, such as one compliant component encountered in the assembly of a CPV solar cell.

Resources required: 
3D printer, components and consumables
Project number: 
First Supervisor: 
Heriot-Watt University
Second Supervisor(s): 
First supervisor university: 
Heriot-Watt University
Essential skills and knowledge: 
Mechanical design, control, programming
Desirable skills and knowledge: 
Sensors, finite element analysis (FEA)

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[2] Bai G, Wang J, and Kong X., A two-fingered anthropomorphic robotic and with contact-aided cross four-bar mechanisms as finger joints. In Biomimetic and Biohybrid Systems: 5th International Conference, Living Machines 2016, Edinburgh, UK, July 19-22, 2016. Proceedings. Springer International Publishing. 2016. p. 28-39.

[3] Ding, X., Kong, X., and Dai, J., Advances in Reconfigurable Mechanisms and Robot II, Springer, 2015.

[4] Roozing, W.,  Li, Z., Caldwell, D., and Tsagarakis, N. , Design optimisation and control of compliant actuation arrangements in articulated robots for improved energy efficiency, IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters (RA-L), Vol. 1 (2), pp 1110–1117, 2016.

[5] Roozing, W., Li, Z., Medrano-Cerda, G., Caldwell, D., and Tsagarakis, N. , Development and control of a compliant asymmetric antagonistic joint for efficient mobility, IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics, Vol. 21, Issue 2, 2016.