Performance Augmentation Of Underactuated Fingers? Grasps Using Multiple Drive Actuation

[+] Author and Article Information
Jean-Michel Boucher

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Polytechnique Montreal Montreal, Quebec, H3T 1J4 Canada

Lionel Birglen

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Polytechnique Montreal Montreal, Quebec, H3T 1J4 Canada

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4036220 History: Received August 14, 2016; Revised March 07, 2017


In this paper, the performance augmentation of underactuated fingers through additional actuators is presented and discussed. Underactuated, a.k.a. self-adaptive, fingers typically only relies on a single actuator for a given number of output degrees of freedom, generally equal to the number of phalanges. Therefore, once the finger is mechanically designed and built, there is little that can be done using control algorithms to change the behaviour of this finger, whether it is during the closing motion or the grasp. In this work, the authors propose to use more than one actuator to drive underactuated fingers in order to improve the typical metrics used to measure their grasp performances (such as stiffness, stability, etc.) In order to quantify these improvements, two different scenarios are presented and discussed. The first one analyzes the impact of adding actuators along the transmission linkage of a classical architecture while the second focuses on a finger with a dual-drive actuation system for which both actuators are located inside the palm. A general kinetostatic analysis is first carried out and adapted to cover the case of underactuated fingers using more than one actuator. Typical performance indices are subsequently presented and optimizations are performed to compare the best designs achievable depending on the number of actuators.

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