Miniature soft hand with curling rubber pneumatic actuators

Shuichi Wakimoto, Keiko Ogura, Koichi Suzumori, Yasutaka Nishioka

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

98 Citations (Scopus)


In medical and biotechnology fields, soft devices are required because of their high safety from low mechanical impedance. FMA (Flexible Microactuator) is one of the typical soft actuators. It consists of fiber-reinforced rubber structure with multi air chambers and realizes bending motion pneumatically. It has been applied to robot hands, robot legs and so on. High potential of FMA has been confirmed by many experiments reported in several papers. However in fabrication process of the actuator, it is difficult to embed the reinforced fiber in the rubber structure. In this study, we aim at development of a fiber less FMA realizing quite large motion, which can be said curling motion, and a soft hand using the actuators. We design the actuator without fiber using nonlinear FEM (Finite Element Method) and derived efficient shape. The actuator is fabricated through micro rubber casting process including micro machining process for molds, micro vacuum rubber molding process and rubber bonding process with surface improvement by excimer light. Basic driving experiments of the actuator showed that it realized curling motion which agreed well with FEM results. and the actuator could grasp a fish egg without breaking. Additionally, we made a soft hand consisting of three curling actuators. This hand also could be manufactured by simple casting process. The developed hand works opening and closing motions well.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2009 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, ICRA '09
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2 2009
Event2009 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, ICRA '09 - Kobe, Japan
Duration: May 12 2009May 17 2009

Publication series

NameProceedings - IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation
ISSN (Print)1050-4729


Other2009 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, ICRA '09

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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