High school graduate Sam Baumgarten and senior Graham Hughes have used 3D printing to build an Arduino-powered robotic gripper. A glove fitted with flex sensors is used to control the device, which uses three large servos to control its 3D printed fingers.
You can do some pretty great things with a 3D printer, an Arduino, and a handful of other components. Just ask Baumgarten and Hughes, whose incredible robotic gripper demonstrates a level of skill and ambition well beyond the students’ years. The device consists of a three-fingered gripper unit at the end of a metal handle, which has a box of electronic components at its base. A separate flex sensor-equipped glove is used to operate the gripper, with the user able to perform natural squeezing motions which are replicated in real time by the robotic device.
Robotic grippers can have many uses, industrial and otherwise, but roboticists are still some way from achieving the perfect design. It is therefore refreshing to see talented youngsters really “getting to grips” with advanced projects like this one. Baumgarten recently posted a video demonstrating how he and Hughes built the robotic device, and some of the revelations are pretty interesting. Just don’t ask why there are two Arduinos.
The robotic gripper consists of three hobby servos and mechanical, 3D printed fingers with force sensors at their tips. The glove, worn by the user to control the gripper, uses flexible sensors whose resistance changes as the wearer flexes their fingers. The signal from these resistors is processed by an Arduino and sent to the gripper module via an Xbee module.