PurposeThis paper aims to provide details of recent commercial and academic developments in flexible and soft grippers and considers their impact on emerging robotic markets.Design/methodology/approachFollowing an introduction, this paper first considers commercially available anthropomorphic robotic hands and soft grippers. It then discusses a selection of recent research activities and concludes with a brief discussion of the potential of these developments.FindingsAnthropomorphic robotic hands, which seek to mimic the structure and capabilities of the human hand, together with a technologically diverse family of soft grippers have recently have been commercialised. Most are produced by companies which spun-out from academic establishments. A strong body of innovative research continues and involves a wide range of principles and technologies. These gripping technologies are expected to catalyse several new and emerging applications; the most important being in agile manufacturing, particularly when used with collaborative robots (cobots).Originality/valueThis paper provides details of recent developments and research into anthropomorphic hands and soft grippers and an insight into their applications.
Industrial Robot: An International Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 16, 2016
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