Combining Sensors Information to Enhance Pneumatic Grippers Performance

Sensors (Basel). 2021 Jul 24;21(15):5020. doi: 10.3390/s21155020.


The gripper is the far end of a robotic arm. It is responsible for the contacts between the robot itself and all the items present in a work space, or even in a social space. Therefore, to provide grippers with intelligent behaviors is fundamental, especially when the robot has to interact with human beings. As shown in this article, we built an instrumented pneumatic gripper prototype that relies on different sensors' information. Thanks to such information, the gripper prototype was able to detect the position of a given object in order to grasp it, to safely keep it between its fingers and to avoid slipping in the case of any object movement, even very small. The gripper performance was evaluated by means of a generic grasping algorithm for robotic grippers, implemented in the form of a state machine. Several slip tests were carried out on the pneumatic gripper, which showed a very fast response time and high reliability. Objects of various size, shape and hardness were employed to reproduce different grasping scenarios. We demonstrate that, through the use of force, torque, center of pressure and proximity information, the behavior of the developed pneumatic gripper prototype outperforms the one of the traditional pneumatic gripping devices.

Keywords: center of pressure; force sensor; pneumatic grippers; proximity sensor; state machine; torque sensor.

MeSH terms

  • Equipment Design
  • Fingers
  • Hand Strength
  • Humans
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Robotics*