Variable gripper mimics the human hand

Written by: Laura Hopperton | Published:

The latest innovation to come out of Festo's Bionic Learning Network is an adaptive, flexible handling system based on the human hand.

The MultiChoiceGripper concept has opposable thumbs to ensure maximum stability when gripping. It's also got six fingers, enabling it to grip differently shaped and also highly sensitive objects without the need for additional sensor or control technology.

"To cope with the complexity of parts to be handled – shape, mass, surface, fragility – there are countless corresponding gripper designs," noted Steve Sands, product manager at Festo. "The MultiChoiceGripper combines two development fields – adaptive finger technology using Festo's Fin Ray structures and a clever mechanical linkage that changes the position of the fingers from 'opposing' to 'surrounding'."

Typical applications for the MultiChoiceGripper include assembly and robotic tasks.

"Until now, gripping multiple parts has required either time wasting tool changing, weight increasing multiple heads or even multiple handling arms," Sands concluded. "Future applications are widespread."

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