Video: Gecko-inspired FarmHand can grip grapes, tomatoesMarie Donlon | December 30, 2021
Scientists from Stanford University’s Biomimetics and Dextrous Manipulation Lab have developed a robotic hand featuring a gecko-like grip.
Dubbed “FarmHand,” the four-fingered robotic hand resembles a human hand and its fingertips feature gecko-like adhesives for gripping a wide range of objects including raw eggs, tomatoes, plates, grapes, containers of liquid, basketballs and angle grinders, for instance.
According to the Stanford team, the gecko-inspired gripper can grip objects using little force and no sticky residue. Additionally, beneath the adhesives, the robot’s finger pads are comprised of a collapsible rib structure that buckles under little force. Regardless of the location or the angle of the applied force, the ribs buckle, allowing for the equal distribution of force on the adhesive pads, thereby preventing any of them from slipping prematurely.
“If you move these ribs, the buckling results in a similar force no matter where you start,” explained the researchers. “It’s a simple, physical behavior that could be deployed even in spaces outside of robotics, perhaps as shoe tread or all-terrain tires.”
The gecko-inspired robotic hand is detailed in an article that appears in Science Robotics.