Modern robotic grippers are specialized and are not designed to manipulate a wide range of subjects in form and content. To fix this, could the so-called “soft” robotics. The researchers time and time again have tried and are trying to create a universal gripper. As in many other cases, comes to the aid of nature.
A group of researchers from Harvard University Wyss, school of engineering and applied Sciences. John A. Paulson (SEAS) and Peking University Beihai (Beihang University) developed a soft manipulator mimicking the shape and working principle of tentacles of an octopus. This is not the first attempt to pry the solution from nature and, specifically, the octopus. Early explorers created as a flexible superzamorozki grippers and suction system with suction cups. But a comprehensive development still was not, say scientists.
Moreover, this time the researchers approached the issue of copying from nature more carefully. We studied the angle of the cone-shaped tentacles of different species of octopus. Scientists have assembled an impressive database. The shape of the new artificial arm-tentacles are not taken from the ceiling, and derived quantitative estimates of shapes of the tentacles of a real octopus. This form, incidentally, will enable the manipulator to get things out of narrow niches where previously invented by the manipulators to get things they could not.
Finally, the new superzamorozki captures the complex are based on physical PU grip of the tentacles and suction cups effect. The shape, size and distribution of the cups on the flexible manipulator is also pretty accurate copy is what evolution has brought for octopus.
Artificial manipulator is controlled by two valves. One valve controls the pressure of the tentacle (usually it is increased), and the second valve creates a vacuum of air in the suction cups. In the complex both mechanisms allow the new grip to take the small and large objects of arbitrary shape, even soft sheets. Finally, the manipulator has done a fine job with the capture of live crab, and the crab is not affected. The results of the work, the scientists said in the latest issue of the journal Soft Robotics, but the access is paid.