Sticky robot hand inspired by geckos combines delicacy and strength

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Robotic hands often commercialized spot for adaptability, but a sticky coating inspired by gecko feet has fixed this artificial manus a delicate touch

Technology 15 December 2021

By Matthew Sparkes

Robot hand

The gecko-inspired robot hand

farmHand/Standford University

Mechanical hands with human-like fingers are much adaptable than the elemental two-pronged clamps recovered connected concern robots, but they conflict to lucifer their strength. Now a robotic manus with sticky rubber tegument inspired by gecko feet combined the features of both: it tin delicately prime up a grape and besides assistance dense objects.

Geckos’ feet are covered successful tiny hairs that divided into adjacent smaller strands that each make a molecular attraction to the worldly the carnal is climbing on.

Mark Cutkosky astatine Stanford University successful California and his colleagues person antecedently created materials that mimic the mode a gecko’s ft sticks to creaseless surfaces and past utilized them successful robots, immoderate of which are designed to latch connected to a satellite’s creaseless aboveground successful space.

Now, Cutkosky and his squad person improved the plan of their latest gecko-inspired worldly and applied it to a robot hand. The worldly evenly spreads the load associated with the entity being manipulated, which prevents the object’s edges peeling distant from the robot hand, which tin undermine adhesion. The manus is besides programmed to grip objects successful a mode that maximises interaction area, utilizing the pad of the fingers alternatively than the fingertips.

The manus has 4 fingers, each powered by 2 motors and equipped with unit sensors, and is capable to prime up and manipulate dense objects galore times its ain size. But it is besides capable to transportation retired delicate motions similar lifting eggs from a container without cracking them, oregon picking grapes from the vine without squashing them.

Cutkosky says that the adhesive is inspired by geckos, but it has present surpassed them successful performance. “[Geckos] bash a bully job, but not a fantastic job,” helium says.

If you connect to an entity successful the mode geckos do, “you sacrifice a just spot of the imaginable performance”, says Cutkosky. “Gecko [feet] are really rather fussy astir however they’re loaded.”

Journal reference: Science Robotics, DOI: 10.1126/scirobotics.abi9773

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