NUS Enterprise

Soft Pneumatic Micro Gripper

Technology #13260n

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Researchers
Asst Prof Raye Yeow
Managed By
Mr Ma Mun Thoh
Senior Associate Director (65)65166506
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Tech Offer 13260N Pneumatic Gripper [PDF]

Department of Biomedical Engineering

Problem

Soft robotics is an emerging field that seeks to replace traditional hard rigid robots in applications where complex and expensive hard robots are unsuitable. Compared to hard robots that require a complex multicomponent mechanical structure, soft robots involve very simple design and control to generate actuation. Soft robots are usually fabricated using the soft lithography technique. However, the potential for soft robot miniaturization using this fabrication method is highly limited by the resolution of 3D printers. Though a high-end 3D printer can print millimeter-sized pneumatic networks, the cost of purchasing such equipment may not be viable for most laboratories. Besides, millimeter-sized pneumatic networks do not work well during the sealing step mentioned above, as the elastomeric material will occlude the channels, which thus affects the performance of the soft actuators.

Solution

The proposed invention is fabricated based on a modified soft lithography technique whereby we adopted a wire-based approach to create wire-sized pneumatic channels. Instead of 3D-printing pneumatic networks on the mold, we printed a feature-less mold and inserted two 1.5mm diameter wires, and thereafter executed the curing process using an elastomeric material (e.g. Ecoflex silicone rubber). Once the elastomer is cured, the wires can then be removed to reveal the wire-sized pneumatic channels, thus eliminating the chance of occlusion during the sealing process.

 

Value Proposition

To replace traditional tissue grippers in certain surgeries with disposable customizable soft grippers for different gripping requirements. Applicable for Delicate Tissue & Organ Manipulation E.g. nerves, blood vessels, liver, brain.

Features & Specifications

(1)  Device can be fabricated at a smaller size scale using the wire-based approach (compared to existing method), within several hours at a low cost and is highly scalable for mass production.

(2)  Soft gripper allows compliant gripping without introducing excessive stress to the object being gripped.

(3)  Grip force can be controlled by compressing the chamber used to actuate the pneumatic channels.

(4)  Gripper design can be easily modified, using computer-aided drawing and 3D-printing, to suit different gripping requirements.

(5)  Controllable grip posture through locking mechanism with the gripper device.

For more information, contact:

NUS Industry Liaison Office

Principal Investigator: Asst Prof  Raye Yeow

  :+65 6516 7175

  : iloquery@nus.edu.sg

  : enterprise.nus.edu.sg/commercialize

Ref : ID13260n