Researchers have found the key to invent the most advanced robotic grippers of the moment, and have been inspired by a Japanese art.
Surely you know origami, which is the art of folding paper without scissors or glue, but perhaps the kirigami, which is very similar, but it is when we talk about cut paper. Well, kirigami is the latest inspiration for robotics to provide robots with greater precision.
We have previously discussed various advances in robotic grippers that allow robots to pick up objects with great ease and delicacy, but are still far from what a human hand can offer. Well, now engineers from the Boston University They have been inspired by the ancient art of Japanese kirigami to create new tweezers.
In order to achieve this precision with their new tweezers, they cut plastic sheets into specific shapes and then bent them in a particular way, thus transforming the plastic into a tweezer that can safely pick up objects of various sizes, weights, shapes and fragility.
This kirigami-inspired technique has resulted in the development of these tweezers that are so small that they can collect a single grain of sand, but also large enough to be able to delicately grasp a bottle of water.
“One of the benefits of these structures is that a very rough movement can result in a fairly fine grip,” he says. Douglas holmes, professor of mechanical engineering at Boston University.
These flexible tweezers are made of a kind of thin and flexible elastic shell in the shape of a four petal flower and with a pattern of linear cuts positioned as you would see in a typical kirigami creation.
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This results in a scalable cell that can be bent in 3D to pick up objects. This gripper can work alone or connect in series to create kirigami gripper arrays capable of simultaneously gripping multiple delicate and even slippery things.