Engineers from Disney have developed an inflatable hand that can grasp objects with fingers and control the force of pressure. Soft case and force measurement sensors allow you to interact with the robot without the risk of injury.
It is for security reasons that the developers from Disney Research created the manipulator partially soft, and its body was made inflatable. The mechanism consists of several segments, around two of which are air chambers connected to sensors that measure pressure. They help the robot “feel” the touch of people. The segments of the manipulator are protected from human intervention, and the person is not subject to the action of electronics.
The robot can touch and itself, as it is equipped with the likeness of a human hand with four fingers. On each finger, an inflatable chamber is attached, connected to a pressure sensor by a tube, as in the case of cameras for interaction with people. When the finger touches anything, the pressure rises, and its magnitude shows how much the robot presses on the object. In such a controlled process, he can capture any objects without causing any damage.
In addition, the robot is covered with polyethylene film for better protection. It inflates and can gradually release air when touched. The information on the film is displayed with the help of the projector, which is located in the base. All these devices make interaction with the manipulator comfortable and safe.
The air chambers and the projector can be used in other tasks, so the researchers intend to refine the robot.
The latest development of the researchers was presented at the IEEE RAS International Conference on Soft Robotics, and an article on it was published by Disney Research on its website .