Nagamanikandan Govindan1 Bharadhwaj Ramachandran1 Pasala Haasith Venkata Sai1 K. Madhava Krishna1
Throwing motion is known for phenomenally fast rearrangement, sorting tasks, and placing the object outside the limited workspace with less effort. However, in the robotics domain, despite many simple yet versatile, mechanically intelligent grippers reported earlier, they focus primarily on achieving robust grasping and dexterous manipulation. This article presents a novel design of a single actuator driven hybrid gripper with mechanically coupled rigid links and elastic gripping surface; this arrangement provides the dual function of versatile grasping and throwing manipulation. The gripper comprises a latching mechanism (LM) that drives two passive rigid fingers by elongating/releasing the coupled elastic strip. Elongating the gripping surface enables the gripper to adapt to objects with different geometries, vary surface contact force characteristics, and store the energy in the form of elastic potential. A mechanism to discharge the stored potential energy gradually or instantaneously is essential when the intended task is to place the object free from impact or away from the limited reachable workspace. The proposed LM can swiftly shift from a quick release to a gradual release of the stored elastic potential for greater object's acceleration during throwing and no acceleration while placing. By doing so, the object can be placed at the desired location even farther than the manipulator's reachable workspace. We report the proposed gripper's design details, development, and experimentally demonstrate the versatile grasping, impact-free placing, and throwing capabilities.