• To develop a dexterous robotic hand that stands between the rigid (traditional) grippers and soft ones. The hand will have the ability to change local stiffness using an externally applied magnetic field both at wrist and fingers level. The ability to modulate stiffness will provide two advantages: the possibility to approach the object with a different configuration of the fingers, allowing for the adaptation of the grasp to the object; the possibility to hold the object steadily after the desired grasp force is reached.

Expected Results:

  • Definition of design rules for the development of robotic joints with switchable stiffness.
  • Development of different sizes of such joints to match the physical characteristics of fingers and wrist.
  • Integration of the joints in new or existing gripper designs.

Principal Supervisor: 

Dr. Francesco Clemente, Prensilia SRL (PRE), Italy

Host Institution: 

Prensilia SRL (PRE), Italy, the Ph.D. degree will be awarded by Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna (SSSA), Italy.

Planned Secondments (total: 9 months):

  • Months 10-12 at JSI (and UL) to gain complementary expertise on sample preparation of magnetoactive materials and to work on optical feedback concepts. Supervisor: Prof. Darja Lisjak, Jožef Stefan Institute (JSI), Slovenia.
  • Months 16-18 at SDU to work on the development of the adaptive control algorithms. Supervisor: Prof. Poramate Manoonpong, University of Southern Denmark (SDU), Denmark.
  • Months 22-24 at UNIVIE to gain complementary experience on material simulation. Supervisor: Prof. Sofia Kantorovich, University of Vienna (UNIVIE), Austria.