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soft robotic hand


The aim of this course project was to build a mechanical hand to pick up a variety of objects with one motor in two months. 

Through rapid prototyping, we built an unorthodox three-fingered soft hand 

[ See the soft robotic hand in action ]

design and development

how to: soft robotics


[ sketch model to prototypes ]

  •  The sketch model informed concept selection - three finger underactuation.

  • The next question was what method and materials? Given that the class was a mechanical prototyping class, the first design was entirely made of shop materials and machines - bent sheet metal, laser cut Dehlrin and off the shelf hardware. However upon tests, everything slipped through our fingers.

  • Given my prior research in soft robotics, I chose to explore the idea of a soft hand. With slight trepidation from the time crunch, I went on to design a 3 part mold and 2 cast protocol resulting in a finger of two rubber shores with embedded hardware. 

  • After further testing, I modified the molds and cast protocol that resulted in the final hand prototype which successfully picked up a wide range of objects in mass, size and texture (ie basketball, 3/8" ball bearing, paper, water bottle, CD, power drill)

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