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The gripper in action!

Take a look at our gripper doing its thing:

Some notes from testing:

Water is much more effective at creating negative pressure than air, since it’s non compressible. We get much better grip while also moving the syringe less distance, meaning that the linear actuator won’t have to expend very much energy to get the gripper to become rigid.

In addition, a water based system means this gripper could potentially work in space. Overall, the water is beneficial in just about every way. We just need to be mindful about how we keep our electronics safe from potential leakages.

Some notes about the design:

We use glass beads in the gripper because they are waterproof, as compared with the traditional universal gripping material, coffee, which would dissolve in water over time.

We use commonplace 11in latex balloons to hold the beads. The balloon is clamped to a tube with a filter on the end to prevent the beads from flowing back into the tubing. The tubing runs to a syringe which will eventually be actuated by a linear actuator. The whole system is filled with water.