SUBJECT: Ph.D. Proposal Presentation
BY: Ivy Chang
TIME: Thursday, May 5, 2022, 3:00 p.m.
PLACE: MRDC Building, 2405
TITLE: Design and Development of an Anatomically Inspired Compliant Palm to Adaptively Reconfigure Precision and Power Grasps
COMMITTEE: Dr. Kok-Meng Lee, Chair (ME)
Dr. Jun Ueda (ME)
Dr. Anirban Mazumdar (ME)
Dr. Katherine Fu (ME)
Dr. Fumin Zhang (ECE)


The focus when evaluating robotic hands or grippers depends upon the ability of the robot to grasp objects, reliant predominantly on the dexterity of the fingers. While previous research has demonstrated success in achieving stability with various grasps and object settings, two real world considerations need to be examined when it comes to evaluation of these systems: operating in unstructured environments when unknown external forces may destabilize a system, and tasks that may evolve with time and require more or less output depending on the forces it requires. Operating in the aforementioned circumstances depends on the fixed specifications of the chosen hardware. This proposed research seeks to enhance a robotic hand’s functionality by changing the grasping configuration between precision and power utilizing the studies of the anatomical structure of the human palm to achieve stable power grasps for tasks that require adaptability in partially unstructured environments. An anatomically inspired design based upon the fundamental arch shaping of the palm will be realized via a compliant mechanism. The research will simulate and determine the relationship between the input forces required to shape the palmar region and contact forces created at the object boundary surface. An example task of turning a spherical doorknob will be used to demonstrate the concept of utilizing the palmar region in power grasp as well as the practical implementation of switching between precision and power grasps depending on force sensor feedback. Potential outcomes of this research will contribute to additional fields of study involving anatomical inspiration design methodology, incorporating palmar region for robotic hand or gripper design, widened evaluation criterion for time-dependent robotic grasping tasks, and implementation for a variety of real-world applications beyond the immediate demonstration via a robotic hand.