P17027: Starfish Gripper
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Problem Definition

Table of Contents

Problem Definition

P17027 (Starfish Gripper) is an expandable starfish robot is an underwater gripping device attached to a container unit. It is a soft-robotics gripper, so the actuation materials will be flexible rather than rigid. The gripping mechanism is to utilize hydraulic force to actuate the expansion and retraction of the robot, mimicking the function of a starfish to achieve a grasp on an object. The surrounding water will be used to “inflate” the gripper and act as the hydraulic actuation fluid. P17027 will build upon the principles of multiple soft-robotics related MSD projects that were focused on gripper technology as well as mimicking a fish swimming.

The main goal of this project is to prove the viability of using a soft robotic gripper underwater. This will be done by developing an efficient, reliable, gripper device which is capable of effectively deploying from a container and successfully capturing a range of target objects. The expected end result is to have a functional gripper prototype, successfully tested under various trial conditions. The resulting design and functional device need to effectively perform in submerged environments, utilizing the surrounding fluid.

Team Vision for Problem Definition Phase

The team's main goal during this phase was to create the foundations of the project. The customer was met with and engineering requirements were created. Along with this, team values were developed and potential risks were summarized. At the end of this phase, a project plan was created to guide the rest of the design phase.

Project Background

Little research has been done with the use of soft robotics underwater, but previous MSD projects have developed other robotic mechanisms for use underwater, as well as soft robotics above water using technology such as McKibben air muscles. Our project will combine this background to develop an underwater soft robotics gripper.

Current grippers that have been developed include one from Soft Robotics, Inc. that is geared towards industrial applications such as food handling, and two developed by Harvard researchers; one that is used underwater to collect fragile coral samples, and another developed under the Whitesides Research Group's Soft Robotics research.

Soft Robotics Inc.

Harvard Deep Sea Exploration Robot Fingers

Harvard Whitesides Research Group - Soft Robots

https://www.shapeways.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/soft_robotics_figure1-1332874142593.gif

Use Cases

Primary Use Case Flowchart

Primary Use Case Flowchart

Second Use Case Flowchart

Second Use Case Flowchart

Third Use Case Flowchart

Third Use Case Flowchart

Project Goals and Key Deliverables

Deliverables & End Results of MSD I:

Deliverables & End Results of MSD II:

Customer Requirements (Needs)

Customer Requirements Table

Customer Requirements Table

Working document here.

Engineering Requirements (Metrics & Specifications)

Engineering Requirements

Engineering Requirements

Working document here.

Constraints

House of Quality

House of Quality

House of Quality

Working Documents & Input Material

Benchmarking

Benchmarking

Benchmarking

Links to projects used for benchmarking:


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