Projekt SoMaRo
© Fraunhofer IZM

Today's rigid robotic grippers are not capable of quickly grasping soft and delicate objects with non-uniform geometry, such as fruit, vegetables and other foods, without damage, as humans can intuitively and effortlessly. The first soft-robotic gripper developments with soft surfaces do not solve the problem, since they do not contain any sensors, e.g. for tactile feedback, and the gripping closure on the object to be gripped is therefore uncontrolled. Therefore, there is a lack of the process reliability that is absolutely necessary for industrial processes and delicate objects will be damaged.

In the interdisciplinary project SoMaRo, a unique robot gripping technology based on soft, adaptively controllable soft kinematics with integrated soft actuators, sensors and electronics based on novel smart materials is developed in cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institutes IPK, ISC and IAP. which can be specifically deformed using software control with electric fields. Intuitive-sensitive grippers will be realized.

The project creates a completely new technology platform for adaptive soft grippers based on soft actuators, soft sensors and soft electronics integrated in soft kinematics. The work of the System on Flex group is focused on the development and manufacturing of the required stretchable electronic components as well as strain and shear force sensors. The stretchable electronics are realized using SCB technology on thermoplastic polyurethane using meandering copper conductor tracks. Conductor tracks based on an alloy liquid at room temperature in polyurethane and silicone are also being investigated as an innovative, forward-looking approach. These structures are also used as sensors. In addition, the high-voltage control for grippers is developed based on HASEL actuators.

Working Group

System on Flex

The research group System on Flex at Fraunhofer IZM focuses on advancing the fields of flexible hybrid electronics, stretchable electronics and electronic textiles (smart textiles). The goal is developing innovative solutions for various applications. The group focuses on developing scalable manufacturing processes for flexible, stretchable and textile electronic systems.