We seek to overcome two key limitations which limit the abilities of Soft Pneumatic Actuators (SPAs) to grasp and manipulate objects: 1) Current SPAs lack position or force sensor feedback, which prevents controlling them precisely, and 2) the tip of the SPA is compliant and has high friction against common surfaces, causing the SPA to stick against surfaces when grasping objects from above. Our experiments suggest that we can achieve low steady-state error and overshoot in position and force using feed-forward models that relate pressure, force, and curvature along with a PID controller. We also compare several fingernail designs and show that the best-performing design significantly outperforms having no fingernails when grasping a set of common objects from a table.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Major Qualifying Project
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Electrical and Computer Engineering