Pneumatically Controlled Reconfigurable Bistable Bionic Flower for Robotic Gripper. Academic Article uri icon


  • Beyond their colorful appearances and versatile geometries, flowers can self-shape-morph by adapting to environmental changes. Nature-inspired artificial systems that mimic their natural counterparts in function, flexibility, and adaptation find an emerging application in mobile robotics. In this study, a novel reconfigurable bionic flower made of petal-shaped bistable carbon fiber-reinforced composites and actuated by soft pneumatic actuators is presented. A robotic gripper based on the bionic flower was then developed for transportation tasks. First, a bionic petal based on a hybridization of bistable composites was designed and a theoretical model was established to analyze its bistable characteristic. Second, experiments and simulations were performed to analyze the out-of-plane deformation and morphing processes of the bionic petal. Curvature analysis of the closing state and blooming state shows a good match with the theoretical results. Finally, a flower-inspired robotic gripper made of the bionic petal is demonstrated to evaluate its gripping performances, including gripping force, response time, and reliability. The functional tests confirmed that the proposed soft gripper can grip objects of various shapes, sizes, and weights within milliseconds response time. The stable gripping configuration was maintained through the bistability of the bionic petal without continuous pressure consumption. The high reliability of the gripper is very useful for gripping tasks under unstructured environments, where precise control over the robot is not possible.

published proceedings

  • Soft Robot

author list (cited authors)

  • Zhang, Z., Ni, X., Gao, W., Shen, H., Sun, M., Guo, G., Wu, H., & Jiang, S.

citation count

  • 19

complete list of authors

  • Zhang, Zheng||Ni, Xiangqi||Gao, Weiliang||Shen, Hongcheng||Sun, Min||Guo, Guodong||Wu, Huaping||Jiang, Shaofei

publication date

  • August 2022