Inspired by anemones, Chinese scientists create simpler and more efficient grippers

Anemone is essentially a mollusc that can devour all kinds of prey,media reported. For this marine animal, Chinese scientists have now copied the concept in the form of a robotic gripper, which may be simpler and more dexterous to operate than conventional mechanical finger patterns. It is reported that the prototype equipment was developed by researchers from Southwest University of Science and Technology and Tsinghua University.

Inspired by anemones, Chinese scientists create simpler and more efficient grippers

The device, known as the bionic ring, is mostly a liquid-filled cylindrical rubber airbag. Essentially, it is like a thick vertical sleeve, with an inward and outward outer skin, and the liquid is in the space between these layers — the inside of the cylinder formed by the ring surface is open at both ends, without filling the liquid.

That is, the ring is attached to the inner skin of the ring surface. When the open bottom of the ring surface is placed around an object, a lever attached to the ring is used to pull it upward. This pulls the inner skin upward so that the outer skin at the bottom of the ring is rolled inward. At this point, the skin will wrinkle, gain weight, and gently grasp objects from all sides.

Inspired by anemones, Chinese scientists create simpler and more efficient grippers

Bionic ring surface prototype (right) and model schematics planned for production

Such a process can continue until the object is completely “swallowed”. When an object is released, the inner ring is pushed down to cause the skin to roll back.

Inspired by anemones, Chinese scientists create simpler and more efficient grippers

According to scientists, the mass production version of the device should be cheaper, easier to manufacture and should be able to grab items of all sizes, shapes, weights and materials.

In addition, it will likely work well in confined spaces or in high-pressure undersea environments, where the use of traditional grippers may be hampered. In addition, it may even create nanoscale rings that can capture and release individual cells.