W. Heeringa, C. D. Santina and G. Smit, "FinFix: A Soft Gripper With Contact-Reactive Reflex for High-Speed Pick and Place of Fragile Objects," 2023 IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics (RoboSoft), Singapore, Singapore, 2023, pp. 1-7, DOI: 10.1109/RoboSoft55895.2023.10122107.

ABSTRACT: Industrial automation calls for precise tasks with cycle times reduced to the minimum. At the same time, when handling delicate products such as fruits and vegetables, accelerations must be kept low to keep interaction forces under a certain threshold to avoid damage. This trade-off hinders the penetration of automation in many relevant application fields. This paper investigates using soft technology to solve this challenge. We propose the FinFix gripper, a non-anthropomorphic soft gripper capable of handling delicate objects at high acceleration using a contact-reactive grasping approach. This gripper has two entirely passive sensorized fingers that establish contact and two active fingers that are actuated pneumatically through a rigid mechanism allowing for rapid closure. We provide exhaustive experimental validation by connecting the gripper to a delta robot. The system can reliably execute pick-and-place cycles in ∼1 s when the distance between the pick and the place locations is 400 mm, resulting in a peak speed of ∼10ms . None of the fragile objects used during the experiments showed any damage. The only information needed is a rough estimation of the object's position to be grasped and a contact event to trigger the reflex. The test results show that the gripper can hold fragile objects during lateral accelerations of 10g.