Gentle robotic fingers can decide up even fragile objects

Soft robotic fingers can pick up even fragile objects

École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne’s (EPFL’s) new robotic grippers do not look something like fingers, however they will decide up even delicate objects like eggs. Their secret? Electroadhesion. That is the identical phenomenon that makes a balloon’s floor sticky sufficient to stick to a wall if you rub it towards your hair. The EPFL’s grippers are versatile and stretchable electrode flaps that act like a thumb-index finger combo.

Once they’re related to electrical energy, the flaps can maintain objects and conform to their form, and in contrast to different grippers, they do not even should know what the objects seem like beforehand. They will additionally lie flat on a floor in the event that they’re supposed to select up items of paper. EPFL explains how the flaps work like so:

The electrode flaps include 5 layers: a pre-stretched elastomer layer sandwiched between two layers of electrodes, plus two outer layers of silicone of various thickness. When the voltage is off, the distinction in thickness of the outer layers makes the flaps curl outwards. When the voltage is on, the attraction between the 2 layers of electrodes straightens out the membranes. This straightening of the membranes from a curled place mimics muscle flexion.

On the ideas of the flaps, the electrodes of every layer are designed for optimum electrostatic grip. These interdigitated electrodes, which seem like two combs fitted collectively, create an electrostatic subject that causes electroadhesion.

Electroadhesion permits the tender grippers to hold as much as eighty occasions their weight, so the know-how has a promising future forward. The EPFL scientists consider it could possibly be used not just for prosthetics, but in addition for meals factories and even to seize particles in area. Since we most certainly will not see the flaps within the wild anytime quickly, take a look at the video under to see them in motion.

Soft robotic fingers can pick up even fragile objects

Supply: EPFL
On this article: EPFL, robots, science
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