A Multiport Network Approach for Elastically Coupled Underactuated Grippers

[+] Author and Article Information
Michael Martell

Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Tulsa, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74104

Julio/C. Díaz

Tandy School of Computer Science, The University of Tulsa, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74104

Joshua Schultz

Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Tulsa, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74104

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4037566 History: Received January 09, 2017; Revised July 21, 2017


This article presents a framework based on multiport network theory for modeling underactuated grippers where the actuators produce finger motion by deforming an elastic transmission mechanism. If the transmission is synthesized from compliant components joined together with series (equal force) or parallel (equal displacement) connections, the resulting multiport immittance (stiffness) matrix for the entire transmission will be positive definite regardless of connection topology. Implications for grasp stability are discussed. A three-fingered gripper is presented in which each finger is driven by a linear two-port spring network. Two elastic transmissions are evaluated, one which connects the networks for each finger in series, the other which connects them in parallel. The multiport approach predicts contact force distribution with good fidelity even with asymmetric objects. The parallel-connected configuration exhibited object rotation and was more prone to object ejection than the series-connected case which balanced the contact forces evenly.

Copyright (c) 2017 by ASME
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