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Design Innovation Paper

Layer-Jamming Suction Grippers With Variable Stiffness

[+] Author and Article Information
Abhishek Bamotra

Department of Biomedical Engineering,
National University of Singapore,
Singapore 119077;
Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology,
Punjab 145001, India
e-mail: abamotra1707@gmail.com

Pushpinder Walia

Department of Biomedical Engineering,
National University of Singapore,
Singapore 119077
e-mail: walia.pushpinder@gmail.com

Avataram Venkatavaradan Prituja

Department of Biomedical Engineering,
National University of Singapore,
Singapore 119077
e-mail: piapritu@gmail.com

Hongliang Ren

Department of Biomedical Engineering,
National University of Singapore,
Singapore 119077
e-mails: ren@nus.edu.sg; hlren@ieee.org

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Mechanisms and Robotics Committee of ASME for publication in the Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics. Manuscript received July 19, 2018; final manuscript received January 19, 2019; published online April 11, 2019. Assoc. Editor: Robert J. Wood.

J. Mechanisms Robotics 11(3), 035003 (Apr 11, 2019) (8 pages) Paper No: JMR-18-1229; doi: 10.1115/1.4042630 History: Received July 19, 2018; Accepted January 22, 2019

The soft grippers driven by pneumatics have an advantage of effectively lifting soft materials and heavier objects with clean air. They provide multiplanar compliant stability when compared with standard claw-like grippers because of the larger contact area. Such grippers can work on objects with a greater surface area than the gripper itself. However, until now, to enhance the gripping on heavier objects, multiple suction cups are used, which involve tubing and a vacuum pump for each individual cup, which ultimately makes the setup bulky and immovable. Furthermore, using a bigger suction gripper requires bigger tubing and higher negative pressure. To tackle this limitation, we are introducing layer-jamming suction grippers with kirigami pattern for stiffness tuning. The kirigami-patterned base and sheets make a channel from the air tubing to each hole that acts as multiple suction cups. The sheets incorporated within the suction cups, working as layer-jamming, control the stiffness of the prototype. Results highlight that the gripper has the capability of lifting 200 times its own weight with a planar surface and has a strength and durability to withstand a maximum force of 87 N. One important characteristic of the gripper is its adaptability to the curved surfaces, which has an enhanced grasp and is able to lift 154 times its own weight. The ease of fabrication, low cost, and higher lifting capabilities open up a wide area of opportunities to see the advancements in technologies with the suction grippers.

Copyright © 2019 by ASME
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Figures

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

(a) Traditional suction cup; (b) previously designed suction gripper; and (c) stiffness-controllable Kirigami-inspired suction gripper

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Fig. 2

(a) Initial position of the sheets stacked together and (b) after bending, the layers with equal length and same starting point. The end points of the sheets differ.

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Fig. 3

(a) Front view of the layer-jamming device and (b) side view of the device

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Fig. 4

Normal and jammed bending torque ratios as a function of weight

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Fig. 5

Normal and jammed bending torque ratios as a function of thickness

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Fig. 6

Relationship between stiffness of the material and air pressure

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Fig. 7

Folding of the kirigami pattern before performing the symmetrical kirigami pattern. (a) The initial base shape of the kirigami paper, (b) fold the circular shape along the diameter, (c) fold the paper along the radius and match the edges to make a 90-deg circle, and (d) confirm the shape, there will be four sheets of paper.

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Fig. 8

(a) 3D-printed mold for the base layer; (b) 3D-printed mold for the top layer and air channel tubing; (c) 3D-printed mold for the slant boundary; (d) 3D-printed manual support; (e) top view of the 3D-printed mount support for UR 5; (f) side view of the 3D-printed mount support for UR 5; (g) default view of the CAD model for the flexible 3D-printed structure; (h) bottom view of the flexible 3D-printed structure; (i) side view of the flexible 3D-printed structure with silicone tubing; (j) fabricated suction gripper with flower-shaped kirigami-patterned sheets; and (k) fabricated suction gripper with full Kirigami-patterned sheets to match the base layer.

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Fig. 9

Suction gripper mounted on the Universal Robots 5 lifting and moving objects

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Fig. 10

(a) Completely fabricated suction gripper; (b) weight of the suction gripper 18 g; (c) weight of the suction gripper with smaller manual support 24 g; and (d) weight of the suction gripper with manual support 26 g

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Fig. 11

Experimental setup for weight-lifting capability experiment: (A) variable DC power supply, (B) 12 V vacuum pump, and (C) suction gripper with a manual support attached

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Fig. 12

Experimental setup on INSTRON UTM: (A) indenter with 500 N load cell, (B) suction gripper, (C) supports from the base of the INSTRON UTM to hold the suction gripper, and (D) ruler to measure the extension

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Fig. 13

Plot shows the relationship between the extension in millimeters and the load in newton for the suction gripper in inactive state

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Fig. 14

Experimental setup on INSTRON UTM: (A) indenter with a 500-N load cell, (B) suction gripper, (C) cling wrap to cover the holes and enable the suction’s capability, (D) supports from the base of the INSTRON UTM to hold the suction gripper, and (E) ruler to measure the extension

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Fig. 15

Plot shows the relationship between the extension in millimeters and the load in newton for the suction gripper in the active state

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