Tutorial on
"Mechatronics and robotics for manipulation: design and control"

Talk title:
Soft-rigid hybrid robotic gripper design and implementation

Existing soft manipulators are either precisely controlled with multiple degrees of freedom (DOF) or underactuated with fewer controlled degrees of freedom and more passive degrees of freedom. The former puts a lot of effort into control, while the latter exhibits an inadequate gripping configuration. In our work, we combine the advantages of these two strategies to develop a soft-rigid hybrid gripper with active skin and semi-active endoskeleton. This gripper achieves multiple poses by simply changing the sequential states of endoskeletal joints and successfully grasps various objects in a robust and diverse manner. We believe the proposed new gripper combines a simple control scheme and diverse grasping degrees of freedom, that will facilitate more robust and precise grasping in the area.

Huichan Zhao is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Tsinghua University. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Tsinghua University in 2012, and PhD degree from Cornell University in 2017. During 2017-2018, she was a postdoc at Harvard University. Her research interests include soft robotics, bioinspired robotics, smart materials, flexible sensors and actuators, etc. Some of her work were published in Nature, Science Robotics, Nature Communications, IEEE Transactions on Robotics, Advanced Functional Materials, etc. She serves as an Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions on Robotics. She was listed in the 30 under 30 Forbes China in 2018 and MIT Technology Review Innovators Under 35 China in 2020. She got the Xiong Youlun Zhihu Excellent Young Scientist Award and The Alibaba Damo Academy Young Fellow Award in 2021.




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