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

Abstract:

 

Purpose

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.

Design/methodology/approach

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.

Findings

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).

Originality/value

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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