Design of a partially-coupled self-adaptive robotic finger optimized for collaborative robots

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This paper presents the design and optimization of a self-adaptive, a.k.a. underactuated, finger targeted to be used with collaborative robots. Typical robots, whether collaborative or not, mostly rely on standard translational grippers for pick-and-place operations. These grippers are constituted from an actuated motion platform on which a set of jaws is rigidly attached. These jaws are often designed to secure a precise and limited range of objects through the application of pinching forces. In this paper, the design of a self-adaptive robotic finger is presented which can be attached to these typical translational gripper to replace the common monolithic jaws and provide the gripper with shape-adaptation capabilities without any control or sensors. A new design is introduced here and specially optimized for collaborative robots. The kinetostatic analysis of this new design is first discussed and then followed by the optimization of relevant geometric parameters taking into account the specificities of collaborative robots. Finally, a practical prototype attached to a very common collaborative robot is demonstrated. While the resulting finger design could be attached to any translational gripper, specifically targeting collaborative robots as an application allows for more liberty in the choice of certain design parameters and more constraints for others.

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The help of Dmitri Fedorov for the programming of the Baxter robot used for demonstration as well as Xiaowei Shan and Timothy Scott for the slippage resistance apparatus is gratefully acknowledged. The support from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (Grant RGPIN327005) is also noted.

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Correspondence to Lionel Birglen.

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This is one of several papers published in Autonomous Robots comprising the “Special Issue on Robotics Science and Systems”.

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Birglen, L. Design of a partially-coupled self-adaptive robotic finger optimized for collaborative robots. Auton Robot 43, 523–538 (2019) doi:10.1007/s10514-018-9802-x

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  • Grasping
  • Robotic hand
  • Collaborative robots
  • Underactuation