A soft and shape-adaptive electroadhesive composite gripper with proprioceptive and exteroceptive capabilities

Jianglong Guo*, Chaoqun Xiang, Jonathan Rossiter

*Corresponding author for this work

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

22 Citations (Scopus)
295 Downloads (Pure)


Electroadhesion is a promising adhesion mechanism for robotics and material handling applications with advantages over existing technologies including enhanced adaptability, gentle/flexible handling, reduced complexity, and ultra-low energy consumption. Current electroadhesive (EA) grippers, however, require extra components and their associated electronics to make them sensorially capable. In addition, current planar EA grippers have difficulty adhering to non-planar surfaces and picking up non-flat objects. We present a monolithic, shape-adaptive, and self-sensing EA composite with integral dielectric elastomer actuation (DEA). This new EA-DEA composite gripper is not only proprioceptive (it can sense internal deformations) and exteroceptive (it can sense and differentiate between surfaces that it touches) but can also actively morph and adapt to curved surfaces. By integrating a high voltage self-sensing unit with the EA-DEA composite, coupled gripping and sensing capabilities can be achieved. This is because combined actions of membrane deformations by the Maxwell force and surface attraction by the EA force can be obtained by using only one voltage source due to the employment of a dual-mode parallel-and-coplanar electrode pattern. The proposed approach has the potential to significantly improve the intelligence of EA gripping technologies and increase their use in intelligent material sorting, grasping, and manipulation applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)586-587
Number of pages2
JournalMaterials and Design
Early online date20 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2018

Structured keywords

  • Tactile Action Perception


  • Active shape morphing
  • Dielectric elastomer
  • Electroadhesion
  • Exteroception
  • Proprioception
  • Soft electroadhesive


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