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Journal of Robotics
Volume 2014, Article ID 902625, 11 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/902625
Research Article

Asymmetric Bellow Flexible Pneumatic Actuator for Miniature Robotic Soft Gripper

1Department of Mechanical Engineering, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham (Amrita University), Kollam, Kerala 690525, India
2Department of Electronics and Communication, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham (Amrita University), Kollam, Kerala 690525, India
3Interaction & Robotics Research Center, Korea Institute of Science and Technology, Seoul 136-791, Republic of Korea

Received 23 May 2014; Revised 24 September 2014; Accepted 23 October 2014; Published 3 December 2014

Academic Editor: Anthony A. Maciejewski

Copyright © 2014 Ganesha Udupa et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The necessity of the soft gripping devices is increasing day-by-day in medical robotics especially when safe, gentle motions and soft touch are necessary. In this paper, a novel asymmetric bellow flexible pneumatic actuator (AFPA) has been designed and fabricated to construct a miniaturised soft gripper that could be used to grip small objects. The model of AFPA is designed using solid works and its bending motion is simulated in Abaqus software for optimisation and compared with experimental results. The actuator is fabricated using compression molding process that includes micromachining of the molds. Experiments conducted show the bending characteristics of the actuator at different pressures. The actuator shows excellent bending performance and the eccentricity in its design supports increased bending or curling motion up to a certain extent compared to normal bellows without eccentricity. The effects of profile shape and eccentricity on the actuator performance are analysed and the results are presented.