Abstract

Soft actuators, composed of pliable materials, are increasingly adopted in industrial grippers owing to their inherent flexibility, elasticity, and safety attributes, rendering them conducive for anthropomorphic robotic applications. Notably, a discernible void in extant literature pertains to the nuanced exploration of hand abduction movements. Addressing this lacuna, the present investigation delineates three salient contributions. Primarily, it introduces the Abduction Soft-Actuator (ASA) – an innovative design specifically tailored for robotic hand abduction. Secondly, it posits an analytical framework augmented by Large Deformation Virtual Beam (LDVB) theory for soft Elastica, facilitating a rigorous dissection of the intrinsic physical properties of the actuator's internal membrane. Thirdly, the study underscores the versatility of the ASA, drawing attention to its innate capability to seamlessly integrate membranes and springs, extending its applicability across multifarious design paradigms. Empirical findings accentuate the ASA's proficiency in prognosticating operational angles under an assortment of spring conditions, thereby refining spring selection protocols for a gamut of applications. Diverging from traditional soft actuators which predominantly deploy a singular material, the ASA epitomizes modularity, allowing for facile spring alternations to cater to diversified requirements. In juxtaposition with prevailing case-by-case analytical approaches, the ASA conspicuously amplifies its domain of applicability. Validation experiments employing inflated silicone membranes substantiate the LDVB theoretical framework, intimating those estimations, reliant on empirical metrics, are amenable to analytical prognostication. Collectively, this methodological intervention not only bridges the prevailing technological chasm but also enriches the comprehension matrix associated with soft actuator mechanism across myriad applications.

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