In Work package 3 (WP3) “Dexterous gripping devices for flexible material handling” we aim to develop and integrate hardware technologies for versatile gripping and adaptive adhesion enhancement at the interface between the object and fingers and conduct a preliminary evaluation of technical performances (footprint and impact study on the object surface integrity). This WP schedule is on track and all risks and issues are controlled and monitored. Meetings between partners are scheduled on a monthly frequency and have been following the schedule so far.

Researchers at EPFL are working on the development of next-generation skins for robot fingers. These skins are capable of selectively adhering to a variety of materials by means of electro adhesion (EA). They will be designed with the ability to sense forces both in the plane of the skin and normal to it. Current work is focusing on characterizing adhesive stresses on use-case materials. Following this, strategies that make the best use of adhesion to pick up materials will be investigated.

“In order to be able to propose an efficient versatile gripper, CEA has been working one the one hand, on grasp quality assessment taking into account the EA effect in robot hands, and in a second hand, on a gesture analysis (based on a grasp taxonomy study). Both studies will now help drawing design guidelines as technical recommendations for the future hand.”

Shadow has established a low-cost product development roadmap, aimed at driving down manufacturing cost and maintenance costs during scale-up from 10s of units per annum to 1000s of units per annum. The scale-up plan was split in two phases with the first phase scaling up to 100 units per annum and the second phase to 1000 units per annum. A catalogue of potential developments to the gripper to reduce costs has been produced and prioritized for implementation.

The next steps would be for CEA to propose design guidelines in the context of the 3 use-cases for the enhanced Shadow gripper. EPFL will continue to conduct testing of the EA skin with the use-case objects on Shadow fingertip to better understand integration constraints.