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Active entanglement enables stochastic, topological grasping

  • Grasping, in both biological and engineered mechanisms, can be highly sensitive to the gripper and object morphology, as well as perception and motion planning. Here we circumvent the need for feedback or precise planning by using an array of fluidically-actuated slender hollow elastomeric filaments to actively entangle with objects that vary in geometric and topological complexity. The resulting stochastic interactions enable a unique soft and conformable grasping strategy across a range of target objects that vary in size, weight, and shape. We experimentally evaluate the grasping performance of our strategy, and use a computational framework for the collective mechanics of flexible filaments in contact with complex objects to explain our findings. Overall, our study highlights how active collective entanglement of a filament array via an uncontrolled, spatially distributed scheme provides new options for soft, adaptable grasping.

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Author:Kaitlyn P Becker, Clark Teeple, Nicholas Charles, Yeonsu Jung, Daniel BaumORCiD, James C Weaver, L. Mahadevan, Robert J Wood
Document Type:Article
Parent Title (English):PNAS
First Page:e2209819119
Year of first publication:2022
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