A Novel Soft Robotic Hand Design With Human-Inspired Soft Palm: Achieving a Great Diversity of Grasps

Haihang Wang, Fares Abu-Dakka*, Tran Nguyen Le, Ville Kyrki, He Xu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)
90 Downloads (Pure)


Soft robotic hands and grippers are increasingly attracting attention as robotic end effectors. Compared with their rigid counterparts, they are safer for human-robot and environment-robot interactions, easier to control, and more compliant, and they cost and weigh less. Design studies of soft robotic hands have focused mostly on the soft fingers and bending actuators. However, the palm is also an essential part in grasping. In this work, we propose a novel design for an inexpensive soft humanoid hand with pneumatic soft fingers and a soft palm. The configuration of the soft palm is based on a modular design that can be applied to actuate different kinds of existing soft fingers. The splaying of the fingers, bending of the whole palm, and abduction and adduction of the thumb are implemented by the palm. Moreover, we present a new design of soft finger, called the hybrid-bending soft finger (HBSF), that can both bend in the grasping axis and deflect in the side-to-side axis, achieving human-like motion (Figure 1). The functions of the HBSF and soft palm are evaluated both in simulation, using the Simulation Open Framework Architecture (SOFA) framework, and experimentally. Six finger designs with 1-11 longitudinal segments are analyzed. The versatility of the soft hand is evaluated and demonstrated experimentally by its grasping of objects according to Feix's taxonomy. The results demonstrate a great diversity of grasps, with 31 of the 33 grasp types of the taxonomy performed successfully with the proposed design, showing promise for grasping a large variety of objects with different shapes and weights.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9395694
Pages (from-to)37-49
Number of pages13
Issue number2
Early online dateApr 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • humanoid robots
  • Optical fiber networks
  • grasping
  • robots
  • bending
  • actuators


Dive into the research topics of 'A Novel Soft Robotic Hand Design With Human-Inspired Soft Palm: Achieving a Great Diversity of Grasps'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this