A Passively Compliant Idler Mechanism for Underactuated Dexterous Grippers with Dynamic Tendon Routing

Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 12228)


In the field of robotic hands, tendon actuation is one of the most common ways to control self-adaptive underactuated fingers thanks to its compact size. Either differential or direct drive mechanisms are usually used in these systems to perform synchronised grasping using a single actuator. However, synchronisation problems arise in underactuated grippers whose position of proximal joints varies with time to perform manipulation operations, as this results in a tendon-driven system with dynamic anchor pulleys. This paper introduces a novel passively compliant idler mechanism to avoid unsynchronisation in grippers with a dynamic multi-tendon routing system, such that adequate grasping contact forces are kept under changes in the proximal joints’ positions. A re-configurable palm underactuated dexterous gripper is used as a case study, with the performance of the proposed compliant idler system being evaluated and compared through a contact force analysis during rotation and translation in-hand manipulation tasks. Experiment results clearly demonstrate the ability of the mechanism to synchronise a dynamic tendon routing gripper. A video summarising experiments and findings can be found at


Dynamic tendon-driven system Underactuated hands In-hand manipulation 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.REDS LabDyson School of Design Engineering, Imperial College LondonLondonUK

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