TitleExploring the Role of Palm Concavity and Adaptability in Soft Synergistic Robotic Hands
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsCapsi-Morales, P, Grioli, G, Piazza, C, Bicchi, A, Catalano, MG
Journal IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters
Start Page4703
Pagination4703 - 4710
Date Published17 June 2020
ISSN 2377-3766
KeywordsEllipsoids, Grasping, Indexes, Kinematics, Robots, Shape, Thumb

Robotic hand engineers usually focus on finger capabilities, often disregarding the palm contribution. Inspired by human anatomy, this paper explores the advantages of including a flexible concave palm into the design of a robotic hand actuated by soft synergies. We analyse how the inclusion of an articulated palm improves finger workspace and manipulability. We propose a mechanical design of a modular palm with two elastic rolling-contact palmar joints, that can be integrated on the Pisa/IIT SoftHand, without introducing additional motors. With this prototype, we evaluate experimentally the grasping capabilities of a robotic palm. We compare its performance to that of the same robotic hand with the palm fixed, and to that of a human hand. To assess the effective grasp quality achieved by the three systems, we measure the contact area using paint-transfer patterns in different grasping actions. Preliminary grasping experiments show a closer resemblance of the soft-palm robotic hand to the human hand. Results evidence a higher adaptive capability and a larger involvement of all fingers in grasping.

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