Most robotic gripping mechanisms so far have relied on humanlike fingers or appendages, which generally struggle to offer the fine touch, flexibility, or cost-effectiveness required in some circumstances to hold onto objects.
Recent work appears to be like to provide a path ahead for gripping robots from an unlikely source—the doughnut-formed sea anemone.
Researchers at the Southwest University of Science and Technology and Tsinghua University in China exhibited a robotic gripping mechanism that simulates how a sea anemone catches its loot.
The bionic torus attracts and releases objects by pinching its skin. The grasper is not only affordable and easy to produce but also can grab various objects of varied sizes, shapes, weights, and materials. They published their work in this week’s Applied Physics Letters.
The thermoplastic rubber skin that strains the exterior of the liquid-filled ring rolls inward when the inner pores and skin of the gripper experience a pulling force, sucking in no matter the target is grabbed.
Researchers can regulate various features of the torus, such as the rolling course and size of the pores and skin, to manage whether or not objects are engulfed, swallowed, or released.
The group demonstrated the gadget by latching onto objects, ranging from a bit of cloth to a cellphone to a glass beaker full of liquid.