Paolo Falco Rüegg

Bionic Soft Hand

Sensitive robot hand with artifical intelligence

Sensor Systems Interaction Wearables

“Whether grasping, holding or turning, touching, typing or pressing – in everyday life, we use our hands for the most diverse tasks. The human hand is a true miracle of nature. What could be more logical than equipping robots in collaborative working spaces with a gripper that is based on this natural model and can learn through artificial intelligence to solve a wide variety of gripping and turning tasks?”

This was the main project I was involved in at FESTO Bionics. My focus was on developing the IMU sensing system for the soft robotic system and creating physical interactions such as teleoperation. I ideated and developed three iterations of wearable sensor gloves that could determine the state of the hand. These early-stage prototypes were later miniaturised and incorporated into the hand.

Apart from hardware development, my work consisted of software engineering using Python and C++. I implemented a ‘digital twin’ of the physical hand (visualisation), PID position control and teleoperation. Unfortunately, I had to return return to university before the project was completed, but left the team with a thorough documentation of my work and code. Other things I contributed to included:

  • State-of-the-art machine learning libraries such as TensorFlow to make the hand smart.
  • PCB design and manufacture using EAGLE
  • Data collection using my sensor system for reinforcement learning