NEW YORK, NY - 12/17/2015 (PRESS RELEASE JET) -- Researchers from the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the National University of Singapore have developed a set of soft robotic mini-grippers, which could provide an effective solution for electronics and surgical instruments requiring a delicate and compliant grip.
“Our soft robotic mini-grippers, made completely of soft elastomers, can be easily mounted onto any robotic arms to provide a new, soft capability in gripping small delicate objects,” says Dr. Raye Yeow, who co-created the soft mini-gripper with his research engineer, Mr. Low Jin Huat.
The creation of the soft robotic mini-grippers is timely, considering the global market for surface mount technology (SMT) is expected to exceed $6.5 billion by 2017. Additionally, it serves a beneficial place in the global market because about 30% of all electronics components, which are odd-shaped and fragile, cannot be inserted by traditional hard grippers in current automatic insertion systems; therefore, they must be inserted by relatively slow, manual human labor. The soft robotic mini-gripper will be able to replace manual human labor with robotics, which will increase reliability in the supply chain and decrease costs across the board.
Dr. Yeow says, "These soft mini-grippers can also potentially be used to grip and manipulate delicate human tissue structures, such as nerves and blood vessels, without damaging them."
Traditional hard tissue grippers have limited handling of delicate and soft tissues during surgery, particularly due to the high stress points generated on the soft tissue. These soft mini-grippers may be the perfect solution for surgical situations because they eliminate the risk of ‘over-gripping’ damage during manipulation of delicate and soft tissues during surgery. The handling of delicate and soft tissues will be much less limited and much safer with these soft mini-grippers.