Active Vibration Fluidization for Granular Jamming Grippers

by   Cameron Coombe, et al.

Granular jamming has recently become popular in soft robotics with widespread applications including industrial gripping, surgical robotics and haptics. Previous work has investigated the use of various techniques that exploit the nature of granular physics to improve jamming performance, however this is generally underrepresented in the literature compared to its potential impact. We present the first research that exploits vibration-based fluidisation actively (e.g., during a grip) to elicit bespoke performance from granular jamming grippers. We augment a conventional universal gripper with a computer-controllled audio exciter, which is attached to the gripper via a 3D printed mount, and build an automated test rig to allow large-scale data collection to explore the effects of active vibration. We show that vibration in soft jamming grippers can improve holding strength. In a series of studies, we show that frequency and amplitude of the waveforms are key determinants to performance, and that jamming performance is also dependent on temporal properties of the induced waveform. We hope to encourage further study focused on active vibrational control of jamming in soft robotics to improve performance and increase diversity of potential applications.


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