According to the researchers, once fully developed, it can be used in surgical procedures, medical care, and fruit-picking operations.
When people lift an object, they can adjust their grip if that object confirms to be a slippery, as well as people can use a combination of senses to decide whether an object requires a delicate touch or not. Previously, the researchers have developed a self-powering, super-stretchy, and transparent sensor, named AISkin that brings the complex sensations of the human touch in the robot grippers. Such innovations may lead to future advances in robotics, personal health care, and wearable electronics. The hands of the robot vary with rigid instruments, with a firm grip, and softer, gentler gadgets that are slightly wimpier.
Now, the research team from Michigan State University has developed a novel robotic hand that combines the best features of both. The research was published in the Soft Robotics journal. In industries, robots are used for tasks that require manipulation and repetitive grasping of objects. Robots usually use two-fingered grippers to pick up heavy, solid objects. They do not have a soft touch due to their rigid design, however, they can apply a lot of force. Softer, gentler hands are used to lift fragile items because they are less likely to break things, however, they also do not have a firm grip.
The newly developed robotic hand is a soft-hard hybrid flexible gripper. It has four fingers and an opposable thumb, each of which is known as a flexible hybrid pneumatic actuator (FHPA). There is a bone-like leaf spring at the core of each FHPA that is surrounded by softer actuated air bladders. According to Changyong Cao, lead author of the research, it can produce more grasping force and may also be more stable for precise manipulation than other counterparts used for heavy objects. Currently, the device is in a prototype form. Moreover, once fully developed, it can be used in surgical procedures, medical care, and fruit-picking operations.