Design and Control of Foam Hands for Dexterous Manipulation

Dominik Bauer, Carnegie Mellon University
Cornelia Bauer, Carnegie Mellon University
Jonathan P. King, Carnegie Mellon University
Daniele Moro, Boise State University
Kai-Hung Chang, Carnegie Mellon University
Stelian Coros, ETH Zürich
Nancy Pollard, Carnegie Mellon University


There has been great progress in soft robot design, manufacture, and control in recent years, and soft robots are a tool of choice for safe and robust handling of objects in conditions of uncertainty. Still, dexterous in-hand manipulation using soft robots remains a challenge. This paper introduces foam robot hands actuated by tendons sewn through a fabric glove. The flexibility of tendon actuation allows for high competence in utilizing deformation for robust in-hand manipulation. We discuss manufacturing, control, and design optimization for foam robots and demonstrate robust grasping and in-hand manipulation on a variety of different physical hand prototypes.