Articles | Volume 2, issue 1
Special issue:
08 Feb 2011
 | 08 Feb 2011

Torque control of underactuated tendon-driven fingers

M. E. Abdallah and C. W. Wampler

Abstract. Given an underactuated tendon-driven finger, the finger posture is underdetermined and can move freely ("flop") in a region of slack tendons. This work shows that such an underactuated finger can be operated in tendon force control (rather than position control) with effective performance. The force control eliminates the indeterminate slack while commanding a parameterized space of desired torques. The torque will either push the finger to the joint limits or wrap around an external object with variable torque – behavior that is sufficient for primarily gripping fingers. In addition, introducing asymmetric joint radii to the design allows the finger to command an expanded range of joint torques and to scan an expanded set of external surfaces. This study is motivated by the design and control of the secondary fingers of the NASA-GM R2 humanoid hand.

This paper was presented at the IFToMM/ASME International Workshop on Underactuated Grasping (UG2010), 19 August 2010, Montréal, Canada.