When the gripper's cups must set down the object, the Nanoplast tape is peeled off using a structure with Evologics' Fin Ray Effect, which is modeled on the tail fin of a fish. Fins don't behave the way many structures do when a lateral force is applied. Instead of bending away from the force, the fins bulge out toward it. This lets a fish use the full strength of its fins' movements in water.
The structure with Fin Ray Effect releases spring forces using a push-push mechanism to deform the structure, changing a straight surface to a curved one, until the holding surface covered by the tape becomes small enough to release the object.
The video below shows the NanoForceGripper in action.
The PowerGripper was inspired by a bird's beak. University students examined different variants -- planar grippers, spatial grippers, and point grippers -- modeled on the complex kinematics of a beak's grasping mechanisms.
Watt's linkage is the motion principle that the PowerGripper employs. The developers used Festo's fluidic muscle, a new type of pneumatic drive that enables motion sequences approaching human movement in speed, strength, kinematics, and sensitivity. They combined this with the production process of metal laser melting to produce the gripper. The video at the bottom of this page demonstrates the device.
The PowerGripper's force-to-weight ratio is high, due to its lightweight construction, the extremely lightweight pneumatic muscles, and the use of a titanium alloy (Ti6Al-4V) for the basic components. The device demonstrates several possible directions the development of new gripping systems can take.
An egg is a perfect experiment, although I think a hardboiled one makes more sense. A raw egg can be tough to grasp correctly without breaking it by a human hand attached to a human paying close attention (I speak from experience...).
,,,or an egg. They would even impress me if it were a hard-boiled egg. You'd still see a shell crack if the grip was too abrupt. Regardless, the devices all do seem quite well-engineered. I guess the wisdom in this is for us all to continue to mimic nature, which has countless perfect designs. Thanks for the chat.
This is great engineering for robot end of arm tooling. The gripping motion seems smooth and solid. I have seen many times where a company will put in a 100,000 dollar robot cel, but the end of arm tooling looks like an Erector set.
Ann, the point I specifically admired was in the 2nd video, (Festo Power Gripper) during the first video segment of the 3-piece mechanical claw. This device was constructed with (3) grippers, radially spaced at 120° and showed the grasping motion while closing. Unfortunately the vide showed the gripper closing onto nothing (no target object; only air) but that gave a clear view of the effect I described as first snapping, then slowing to a controlled pressure grasp. Apparently, a very natural mimicry.
Nice to see designers looking to nature for inspiration. Who knows how many design iterations had to take place to end up with the various functional forms of birds' beaks? As a designer, I've often turned to nature to get some insight into some difficult mechanical structures. Thanks for the article.
Festo is definitely the leader of biomimicry based robotic systems as evident by this article and past ones written. I can see why animals are used as the inspirational force behind their designs because of their agility and speed. Manufacturing processes need to be lean and efficient. By using robots with the animal agilities, parts assembly processes,for example, can be expedited with ease. The Festo product videos are great to look at as well. Great article.
Automakers are on the prowl for lighter weight materials to make vehicles less heavy and more fuel efficient, and Nanosteel is one of the companies hoping to take advantage of this opportunity with their lightweight automotive steel of the same name.
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