TitleFrom Soft to Adaptive Synergies: The Pisa/IIT SoftHand
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsCatalano, MG, Grioli, G, Farnioli, E, Serio, A, Bonilla, M, Garabini, M, Piazza, C, Gabiccini, M, Bicchi, A
Book TitleHuman and Robot Hands
VolumeSpringer Series on Touch and Haptic Systems
Chapter101 - 125

Taking inspiration from the neuroscientific findings on hand synergies discussed in the first part of the book, in this chapter we present the Pisa/IIT SoftHand, a novel robot hand prototype. The design moves under the guidelines of making an hardware robust and easy to control, preserving an high level of grasping capabilities and an aspect as similar as possible to the human counterpart. First, the main theoretical tools used to enable such simplification are presented, as for example the notion of soft synergies. A discussion of some possible actuation schemes shows that a straightforward implementation of the soft synergy idea in an effective design is not trivial. The proposed approach, called adaptive synergy, rests on ideas coming from underactuated hand design, offering a design method to implement the desired set of soft synergies as demonstrated both with simulations and experiments. As a particular instance of application of the synthesis method of adaptive synergies, the Pisa/IIT SoftHand is described in detail. The hand has 19 joints, but only uses one actuator to activate its adaptive synergy. Of particular relevance in its design is the very soft and safe, yet powerful and extremely robust structure, obtained through the use of innovative articulations and ligaments replacing conventional joint design. Moreover, in this work, summarizing results presented in previous papers, a discussion is presented about how a new set of possibilities is open from paradigm shift in manipulation approaches, moving from manipulation with rigid to soft hands.

Refereed DesignationRefereed
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