Research Papers

Performance Augmentation of Underactuated Fingers' Grasps Using Multiple Drive Actuation

[+] Author and Article Information
Jean-Michel Boucher

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Polytechnique Montreal,
Montreal, QC H3T 1J4, Canada
e-mail: jean-michel.boucher@polymtl.ca

Lionel Birglen

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Polytechnique Montreal,
Montreal, QC H3T 1J4, Canada
e-mail: lionel.birglen@polymtl.ca

Manuscript received August 14, 2016; final manuscript received March 7, 2017; published online April 27, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Sarah Bergbreiter.

J. Mechanisms Robotics 9(4), 041003 (Apr 27, 2017) (10 pages) Paper No: JMR-16-1236; 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, also known as self-adaptive, fingers typically only rely on a single actuator for a given number of output degrees of freedom (DOF), generally equal to the number of phalanges. Therefore, once the finger is mechanically designed and built, little can be done using control algorithms to change the behavior of this finger, both during the closing motion and the grasp. We propose to use more than one actuator to drive underactuated fingers to improve the typical metrics used to measure their grasp performances (such as stiffness and stability). 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 with respect to stiffness and grasp stability, depending on the number of actuators.

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Fig. 2

Parallel-drive finger geometry (a) and forces (b)

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Fig. 1

Serial-drive finger geometry (a) and forces (b)

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Fig. 4

Three degrees of freedom serial-drive finger

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Fig. 3

Illustration of the convex area and total height of a finger

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Fig. 6

Example of an optimization result for AS#1-4 without using the squared values of piso and pstiff

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Fig. 7

Three degrees of freedom parallel-drive finger

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Fig. 8

Case study 2: optimized design AS#2-2 grasping two different circular objects: (a) r = 0.65 and (b) r = 1.5

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Fig. 5

Case study 1: grasp of a circular object of radius r = 1.25 with fingers optimized with a combined performance index: (a) AS#1-1 and (b) AS#1-4



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