Title: 'Soft' actuation for dextrous hands – a 23 DOF anthropomorphic hand powered by pneumatic muscle actuators

Authors: Darwin G. Caldwell, Ping Yong Chua, Mohd Zaid Amran

Addresses: Italian Institute of Technology, Via Morego 30, Genoa, Italy. ' Dept. of Electronic Engineering, Tunku Abdul Rahman College, Jalan Genting Kelang, Setapak, 53300 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. ' Faculty of Electrical and Electronic Department, University Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia, 86400 Parit Raja, Batu Pahat, Johor, Malaysia

Abstract: The human hand with its complex anatomical and sensory structures forms an exceptional end-effector that is capable of performing countless grasping, exploratory, manipulative and prehensile tasks. Key to the effective operation of this |hand|, in terms of strength, compliance, compactness, speed of finger motions and the safe, secure handling needed to minimise potential damage to the grasped object and the hand itself, is the actuation. This paper describes the design, construction and testing of a 23 DOF robotic dextrous end-effector powered by powerful, yet compliant and accurate braided pneumatic Muscle Actuator (pMA)s. The paper discusses the control and drive systems and shows the hand performing a number of complex manipulative tasks involving dexterity and power and concludes by demonstrating that the hand can perform high speed tele-operated catching operations.

Keywords: robotic hands; pneumatic muscle actuators; pMA; dexterous manipulation; actuation systems; end-effectors; teleoperation; anthropomorphic hands; soft actuation; robot control; control systems; drive systems; high speed catching.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMIC.2008.021478

International Journal of Modelling, Identification and Control, 2008 Vol.4 No.4, pp.383 - 393

Published online: 28 Nov 2008 *

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