Shape Deposition Manufacturing (SDM) is a rapid prototyping process in which mechanisms are simultaneously fabricated and assembled through alternating steps of subtractive (milling) and additive (casting) manufacturing. One of the advantages of this process is that it is possible to embed items (such as sensors, motors, or structural reinforcements) into the mechanism you are building. Further information on SDM can be found here: [External link].
In this documentation set we will use SDM to build multi-jointed, compliant fingers that are actuated by pulling a cable. This technique is based on work carried out at Harvard (Dollar & Howe, 2006) and Stanford (Binnard & Cutosky, 2000) to build graspers for dexterous robot manipulation.
The compliant nature of the fingers allow for grasping of a wide variety of objects, and the embedding of components makes them resistant to damage. In the below video, the i-HY hand, which uses SDM fingers, picks up objects ranging from a basketball to a door key. It is also hit several times with a baseball bat but still functions normally afterwards:
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