Flexible and soft robotic grippers: the key to new markets?




This paper aims to provide details of recent commercial and academic developments in flexible and soft grippers and considers their impact on emerging robotic markets.


Following an introduction, this paper first considers commercially available anthropomorphic robotic hands and soft grippers. It then discusses a selection of recent research activities and concludes with a brief discussion of the potential of these developments.


Anthropomorphic robotic hands, which seek to mimic the structure and capabilities of the human hand, together with a technologically diverse family of soft grippers have recently have been commercialised. Most are produced by companies which spun-out from academic establishments. A strong body of innovative research continues and involves a wide range of principles and technologies. These gripping technologies are expected to catalyse several new and emerging applications; the most important being in agile manufacturing, particularly when used with collaborative robots (cobots).


This paper provides details of recent developments and research into anthropomorphic hands and soft grippers and an insight into their applications.


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