Jamming Grippers Combine to Form Robotic Elephant TrunkBy Ackerman, Evan; IEEE Spectrum,
Publication Date: May 18, 2012
Article features a flexible robotic arm that picks up objects in a manner similar to that of an elephant trunk. Developed by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the robotic arm employs an actuation technique known as jamming which combines coarse coffee grounds put inside a flexible sleeve with an air pump. Vacuuming the air from the sleeve pulls the grounds together into a solid mass, resulting in the sleeve forming a firm grip on any object over which it has been placed. The arm comprises several different jamming segments strung together at the ends, with separate vacuum valves to each segment and a set of four control cables spaced at 90 degree intervals around the outside of the arm. As the control cables pull on the arm, the segments smoothly flex. By jamming selected segments and turning them rigid, an operation that takes only 0.2 second, the motion of the arm can be altered in complex ways, allowing trunk-like gripping motions. Future development of the robotic arm includes the addition of a manipulator followed by embedded sensing, control, and path planning. The article includes the link to a short video demonstrating the robotic arm.
Published by: Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE) (Website:http://www.ieeecss.org)
Link to text: http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/robotics-hardware/jamming-grippers-combine-to-form-robotic-elephant-trunk
Link to video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DNJwM8lyBo&feature=player_embedded