A Passively Bendable, Compliant Tactile Palm with RObotic Modular Endoskeleton Optical (ROMEO) Fingers

ICRA 2024(2024)

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Many robotic hands currently rely on extremely dexterous robotic fingers and a thumb joint to envelop themselves around an object. Few hands focus on the palm even though human hands greatly benefit from their central fold and soft surface. As such, we develop a novel structurally compliant soft palm, which enables more surface area contact for the objects that are pressed into it. Moreover, this design, along with the development of a new low-cost, flexible illumination system, is able to incorporate a high-resolution tactile sensing system inspired by the GelSight sensors. Concurrently, we design RObotic Modular Endoskeleton Optical (ROMEO) fingers, which are underactuated two-segment soft fingers that are able to house the new illumination system, and we integrate them into these various palm configurations. The resulting robotic hand is slightly bigger than a baseball and represents one of the first soft robotic hands with actuated fingers and a passively compliant palm, all of which have high-resolution tactile sensing. This design also potentially helps researchers discover and explore more soft-rigid tactile robotic hand designs with greater capabilities in the future.
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Key words
Soft Robot Materials and Design,Force and Tactile Sensing,Mechanism Design
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