A Contact-triggered Adaptive Soft Suction Cup

Tianqi Yue, Weiyong Si, Alixander J Partridge, Chenguang Yang, Andrew T Conn, Hermes Bloomfield-Gadêlha, Jonathan M Rossiter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
286 Downloads (Pure)


Suction adhesion is widely used by natural organisms for gripping irregular objects (e.g., rocks), but their artificial counterparts show less adaptation in the same situation. In addition, they can require complex sensing and control systems to function. In this paper, we present a contact-triggered suction cup with the ability to adapt to objects with complex and irregular shapes. The gripper has two states to adhere and release the object and the transformation from release to adhesion is passively triggered by the contact force, making it an autonomous gripper and removing the need for complex driven system. Once the suction cup experiences a contact force above a set threshold, it will automatically capture the contacting object. Only the resetting transformation from adhesion to release is actuated by a vacuum pump. The maximal suction force up to 15.1 N is generated on the non-flat surface with the suction cup diameter of 30 mm. The performance of this gripper is demonstrated on a 7 DoF robot arm which successfully picked up a variety of irregular objects. We believe that this contact-triggered gripper provides a new solution for low cost, energy-effective and adaptive soft gripping.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3600 - 3607
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Robotics and Automation Letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022

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  • Soft robotic gripper
  • Suction


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