Advancement in the Design and Control of Robotic Grippers

A special issue of Actuators (ISSN 2076-0825). This special issue belongs to the section "Actuators for Robotics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 May 2024 | Viewed by 9671

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Center for Robotics and Intelligent Systems, Via San Quirico19d, 16163 Genoa, Italy
Interests: mechatronic systems; robotic hands and grippers; actuators; sensors for robots; control; system dynamics; modelling and simulation

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Robotic arms interact with the environment by means of their end effectors. These coincide, in the majority of cases, with two-fingered grippers. Such devices allow the robotic arm to grasp items with various properties (e.g., shape and weight), even applying high forces when required. Despite their wide employment, the performance of robotic grippers is still limited by several factors. Above all, the scarce instrumentation, in terms of electronics and sensors, complicates the implementation of advanced control algorithms. This is a shortcoming particularly affecting pneumatic grippers, which are the most employed type of robotic gripper. As the market of robotic grippers shows a clearly growing trend, the need to conceive more sophisticated devices becomes stronger. Therefore, this Special Issue aims at collecting valuable articles that can produce a significant advancement in the state of the art of robotic grippers. Key challenges regard the augmentation of the gripper intelligence, which passes through the integration of reliable sensors in the gripper, and the design improvement of crucial components (such as actuators, fingers, etc.). Topics will focus on, but are not limited to, the following:

- design

- actuation

- instrumentation

- real-time control

- performance evaluation

- modeling and test

Dr. Rocco Antonio Romeo
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • design     
  • actuation     
  • instrumentation     
  • real-time control     
  • performance evaluation     
  • modeling and test

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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15 pages, 9945 KiB  
Article
An Adaptive Magnetorheological Fluid-Based Robotic Claw with an Electro-Permanent Magnet Array
by Young Choi, Keith Drake, Mark Jesik, Christine Hartzell and Norman Wereley
Actuators 2023, 12(12), 469; https://doi.org/10.3390/act12120469 - 16 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1200
Abstract
The increasing demand for the adept handling of a diverse range of objects in various grasp scenarios has spurred the development of more efficient and adaptable robotic claws. This study specifically focuses on the creation of an adaptive magnetorheological fluid (MRF)-based robotic claw, [...] Read more.
The increasing demand for the adept handling of a diverse range of objects in various grasp scenarios has spurred the development of more efficient and adaptable robotic claws. This study specifically focuses on the creation of an adaptive magnetorheological fluid (MRF)-based robotic claw, driven by electro-permanent magnet (EPM) arrays to enhance gripping capabilities across different task requirements. In pursuit of this goal, a two-finger MRF-based robotic claw was introduced, featuring two magnetorheological (MR) grippers equipped with MR elastomer (MRE) bladders and EPM arrays at the fingertips. The operational principle involved placing a target object between these MR grippers and adjusting the normal force applied to the object for effective grasping. During this process, the contact stiffness of the MR grippers was altered by activating the EPM arrays in three distinct operation modes: passive, short-range (SR), and long-range (LR). Through experimentation on a benchtop material testing machine, the holding performance of the MRF-based robotic claw with the integrated EPM arrays was systematically evaluated. This study empirically validates the feasibility and effectiveness of the MRF-based robotic claw when equipped with EPM arrays. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advancement in the Design and Control of Robotic Grippers)
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24 pages, 10809 KiB  
Article
Design and Analysis of an Adaptive Cable-Driven Manipulator Capable of Actively Transitioning between Two-Point Clamping and Envelope Grasping
by Huiling Wei, Jin Liu, Qinghua Lu, Weilin Chen, Lufeng Luo and Chengbin Liang
Actuators 2023, 12(12), 461; https://doi.org/10.3390/act12120461 - 11 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1165
Abstract
Actively transitioning between clamping and grasping is a challenging problem for most manipulators with limited degrees of freedom. To overcome this problem, a cable-driven rigid–flexible combined manipulator capable of actively transitioning between clamping and grasping is proposed in this paper, which has a [...] Read more.
Actively transitioning between clamping and grasping is a challenging problem for most manipulators with limited degrees of freedom. To overcome this problem, a cable-driven rigid–flexible combined manipulator capable of actively transitioning between clamping and grasping is proposed in this paper, which has a certain adaptability and compliance to achieve adaptive operation. First, the cable-driven unit and compliant unit of the cable-driven rigid–flexible combined manipulator are designed. Then, the sensitivity of the mechanism parameters is analyzed using the Monte Carlo method, and then the structure of the cable-driven rigid–flexible combined manipulator is optimized. After that, the force on the finger in two-point clamping mode is modelled using Newton’s second law. Furthermore, the input–output relationship modelling of the finger in envelope grasping mode is deeply analyzed using the principle of energy conservation. Finally, the stable grasping performance of the cable-driven rigid–flexible combined manipulator is verified using numerical simulation and physical prototype tests. The results show that the cable-driven rigid–flexible combined manipulator has good adaptability and compliance, which verifies the effectiveness and rationality of the design and modelling. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advancement in the Design and Control of Robotic Grippers)
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16 pages, 8369 KiB  
Article
Optimized Design of Fixture Mechanism for Cotton Bundle Fiber
by Daiyu Jiang, Huting Wang, Ruoyu Zhang, Rong Hu and Hong Liu
Actuators 2023, 12(12), 435; https://doi.org/10.3390/act12120435 - 23 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1117
Abstract
The linkage mechanism of a cotton bundle fiber strength tester will have an unstable clamping force when clamping fiber bundle samples with uneven thickness, resulting in slippage or damage to the fibers increasing the pectin residue, leading to inaccurate test results and increased [...] Read more.
The linkage mechanism of a cotton bundle fiber strength tester will have an unstable clamping force when clamping fiber bundle samples with uneven thickness, resulting in slippage or damage to the fibers increasing the pectin residue, leading to inaccurate test results and increased maintenance costs. To address this problem, according to the structural principle of the connecting rod-clamping mechanism, through the geometric relationship between the connecting rods to establish a parametric model of the mechanism and the use of the principle of virtual work on the mechanism to solve the force, the proposed new Dynamic Alternative Static Approximate Analysis Method (DASAAM) was based on Adams 2020. The Isight integrated Adams automatic optimization design framework was built. The variance of the change curve of the end force of the mechanism when clamping samples of different thicknesses was used as the evaluation function and the assembly conditions were used as the constraints. The dimensional parameters and angles of the mechanism were optimized using the multi-island genetic algorithm. The simulation results showed that when the thickness of the clamped sample varied in the range of 0–4 mm, the clamping force of the mechanism varied in the range of 8920–8630 N. Finally, the variance of the clamping force measured by the clamping force measurement component was 0.0367. The above results show that the DASAAM provided a new method for solving the static problem of mechanism morphological and position change, and the optimized linkage mechanism had better clamping force stability, which made the strength detection of cotton fiber more accurate, thus improving the quality of textile products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advancement in the Design and Control of Robotic Grippers)
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22 pages, 5370 KiB  
Article
Kinematic Analysis of a New 3-DOF Parallel Wrist-Gripper Assembly with a Large Singularity-Free Workspace
by Ramin Ghaedrahmati and Clément Gosselin
Actuators 2023, 12(11), 421; https://doi.org/10.3390/act12110421 - 10 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1380
Abstract
This paper introduces a novel dexterous 3-DOF parallel wrist-gripper assembly with a large singularity-free range of motion. It consists of a zero-torsion 2-DOF parallel wrist and a 1-DOF parallel gripper. The wrist produces a 2-DOF sphere-on-sphere pure rolling motion. This large singularity-free 2-DOF [...] Read more.
This paper introduces a novel dexterous 3-DOF parallel wrist-gripper assembly with a large singularity-free range of motion. It consists of a zero-torsion 2-DOF parallel wrist and a 1-DOF parallel gripper. The wrist produces a 2-DOF sphere-on-sphere pure rolling motion. This large singularity-free 2-DOF sphere-on-sphere pure rolling motion of the wrist allows for smooth and precise manipulation of objects in various orientations, making it suitable for applications such as assembly, pick-and-place, and inspection tasks. Using a geometrical approach, analytical solutions for the inverse and forward kinematics problems of the wrist and gripper are derived. From the inverse kinematic equations, the Jacobian matrices are derived and it is shown that the whole workspace is free of type I and type II singularities. It is shown that with a proper choice of design variables, a large singularity-free range of motion can be obtained. The absence of singularities in the whole workspace of the wrist-gripper assembly is an important feature that enhances its reliability. Finally, the correctness of the derived equations for the wrist inverse and forward kinematics are verified using MSC Adams. These results confirm the feasibility and effectiveness of the proposed parallel wrist-gripper assembly. Overall, the novel parallel wrist-gripper assembly presented in this paper demonstrates great potential for improving the efficiency and flexibility of robotic manipulators in a variety of industrial and research applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advancement in the Design and Control of Robotic Grippers)
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13 pages, 15143 KiB  
Article
Research on a Variable-Stiffness Joint and Its Application in Actuators
by Qi Wang, Xiaolong Lu, Peng Jiang, Chang Guo and Yalin Sun
Actuators 2023, 12(11), 397; https://doi.org/10.3390/act12110397 - 25 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1220
Abstract
Variable-stiffness actuators can flexibly adjust the overall or local stiffness of a structure, thus enabling reconstruction, adaptation, and locking capabilities that can meet a wide range of task requirements. However, the programmable design and manufacture of three-dimensional (3D) variable-stiffness actuators has become a [...] Read more.
Variable-stiffness actuators can flexibly adjust the overall or local stiffness of a structure, thus enabling reconstruction, adaptation, and locking capabilities that can meet a wide range of task requirements. However, the programmable design and manufacture of three-dimensional (3D) variable-stiffness actuators has become a challenge. In this paper, we present a method to develop the 3D structure of variable-stiffness actuators that combines variable-stiffness joints with 3D printing technology. The variable-stiffness joints were obtained by arranging steel needles wrapped with enameled copper wire inside the grooves of a polylactic acid (PLA) structure and bonding the three components with silicone glue. First, a variable-stiffness joint was used as a variable-stiffness node and subjected to 3D printing to realize multiple 3D variable-stiffness designs and manufacture a programmable structure. Then, using the repulsive force between paired magnets, we developed a driving actuator for the 3D variable-stiffness structure, enabling the expansion and deployment functions of the structure. In addition, an electromagnetically driven mechanical gripper was designed based on variable-stiffness joints to effectively decrease the driving energy in applications where objects are held for extended periods using variable-stiffness control. Our study provides practical solutions and guidance for the development of 3D variable-stiffness actuators, contributing to the achievement of more innovative and practical actuators. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advancement in the Design and Control of Robotic Grippers)
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12 pages, 3717 KiB  
Article
A Back-Drivable Rotational Force Actuator for Adaptive Grasping
by Xiaofeng Wu, Hongliang Hua, Che Zhao, Naiyu Shi and Zhiwei Wu
Actuators 2023, 12(7), 267; https://doi.org/10.3390/act12070267 - 29 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 946
Abstract
In this paper, a back-drivable and miniature rotary series elastic actuator (RSEA) is proposed for robotic adaptive grasping. A compact arc grooves design has been proposed to effectively reduce the dimension of the RSEA system. The elastic elements could be reliably embedded in [...] Read more.
In this paper, a back-drivable and miniature rotary series elastic actuator (RSEA) is proposed for robotic adaptive grasping. A compact arc grooves design has been proposed to effectively reduce the dimension of the RSEA system. The elastic elements could be reliably embedded in the arc grooves without any additional installation structures. The whole RSEA system is characterized as compact, miniature, and modular. The actuating force is controlled via a PI controller by tracking the deformation trajectory of the elastic elements. An underactuated finger mechanism has been adopted to investigate the effectiveness of the RSEA in robotic adaptive grasping. Results reveal that the underactuated finger mechanism could achieve adaptive grasping via the RSEA in a back-drive approach without the requirement of a fingertip force sensor. The RSEA could also exhibit an actuating compliance and a self-sensing characteristic. The actuating compliance characteristic helps in in guaranteeing the safety of human–robot interaction. The RSEA could estimate the external disturbance due to its self-sensing characteristic, which has the potential to replace the fingertip force sensor in grasping force perception applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advancement in the Design and Control of Robotic Grippers)
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Review

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20 pages, 721 KiB  
Review
Control Methodologies for Robotic Grippers: A Review
by Simone Cortinovis, Giuseppe Vitrani, Marco Maggiali and Rocco Antonio Romeo
Actuators 2023, 12(8), 332; https://doi.org/10.3390/act12080332 - 17 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2053
Abstract
As automation is spreading in all the industry domains, the presence of robots is becoming unavoidable inside factories, warehouses and manufacturing facilities. Although a great number of companies and research institutions have concentrated their efforts on developing new robotic systems and advanced algorithms, [...] Read more.
As automation is spreading in all the industry domains, the presence of robots is becoming unavoidable inside factories, warehouses and manufacturing facilities. Although a great number of companies and research institutions have concentrated their efforts on developing new robotic systems and advanced algorithms, much work is necessary to provide robotic grippers, especially industrial ones, with reliable, powerful control strategies. Therefore, this article aims at delivering an up-to-date point of view on the state of the art of robotic gripper control. The principal control methodologies employed so far, as well as a thorough selection of the existing contributions to the field, will be reported and discussed. Finally, the authors’ opinion about future directions will be expressed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advancement in the Design and Control of Robotic Grippers)
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