Soft Gripping: Specifying for Trustworthiness


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Soft robotics is an emerging technology in which engineers create flexible devices for use in a variety of applications. In order to advance the wide adoption of soft robots, ensuring their trustworthiness is essential; if soft robots are not trusted, they will not be used to their full potential. In order to demonstrate trustworthiness, a specification needs to be formulated to define what is trustworthy. However, even for soft robotic grippers, which is one of the most mature areas in soft robotics, the soft robotics community has so far given very little attention to formulating specifications. In this work, we discuss the importance of developing specifications during development of soft robotic systems, and present an extensive example specification for a soft gripper for pick-and-place tasks for grocery items. The proposed specification covers both functional and non-functional requirements, such as reliability, safety, adaptability, predictability, ethics, and regulations. We also highlight the need to promote verifiability as a first-class objective in the design of a soft gripper.
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