Flexible Grippers and Fixtures
Main researchers: Ivan Kalaykov, Anani Ananiev, Boyko Iliev, exchange MSc. students
External collaborations: Avitohol – K.Roussev Co., Bulgaria – development of the technical documentation and manufacturing the mechanical system of the prototype.
The project belongs to the research direction “Advanced Mechatronic Systems and Control” and aims at an alternative to the conventional robotization and automation concept through:
- (i) Technology development of flexible gripper and fixture systems adaptable to varying degrees of automation, at significantly lower life-cycle costs;
- (ii) New approach of programming of flexible grippers and fixtures adaptable to varying workforce qualification;
- (iii) Meeting the requirements for higher level of agility – shorten the setup time and the time of changing to new type of objects to be handled;
- (iv) Enabling wider areas of application of flexible grippers and fixtures, such that the same ones can be used for larger variety of objects, environments and scenarios.
The research and development in the project is directed towards creating the following innovations:
- (a) Redundant, modular and reconfigurable gripper and fixture systems capable to cover plurality of applications;
- (b) Advanced design based on new materials, which enhance the gripper/fixture functionalities;
- (c) Sensor-rich construction enabling not only intelligent adaptive control, but simplified programming of various grasping functions and behaviors;
- (d) Multiplicative effect due to the principle of duality between grippers and fixtures.
Special focus of the project is on the intuitive programming of complex grippers by human demonstration. This part of the project is in collaboration with the Learning Systems Lab. The aim is to develop a high-level grasp controller for flexible grippers where the essential part of the programming is replaced by human demonstrations. The benefit will be fast, intuitive and user friendly programming process. For achieving this we solve the following tasks:
- (1) Developing a set of motion primitives for semiautonomous grasping for a given flexible gripper and selection of an appropriate set of tactile/force sensors;
- (2) Creating a methodology for intuitive programming-by-demonstration using motion capture devices;
- (3) Evaluation of motion capture devices for robot programming in industrial environments;
- (4) Integration of the flexible gripper and its programming system with an industrial robot.