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Photonics West Showcase
A 3-D printed multimaterial shape-memory mini-gripper grasps a cap screw.
A 3-D printed multimaterial shape-memory mini-gripper, consisting of shape-memory hinges and adaptive touching tips, grasps a cap screw. Photo courtesy of Qi (Kevin) Ge. To demonstrate a simple application for the shape-memory structures, Fang and his colleagues printed a small, rubbery, claw-like gripper. They attached a thin handle to the base of the gripper, then stretched the gripper’s claws open. When they cranked the temperature of the surrounding air to at least 40 C, the gripper closed around whatever the engineers placed beneath it. “The grippers are a nice example of how manipulation can be done with soft materials,” Fang says. “We showed that it is possible to pick up a small bolt, and also even fish eggs and soft tofu. That type of soft grip is probably very unique and beneficial.”
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