A computational design method for a shape memory alloy wire actuated compliant finger

Chao Chieh Lan, You Nien Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents a computational method to design a compliant finger for robotic manipulations. As traditional mechanical fingers require bulky electromagnetic motors and numerous relative moving parts to achieve dexterous motion, we propose a class of fingers; the manipulation of which relies on finger deflections. These compliant fingers are actuated by shape memory alloy (SMA) wires that exhibit high work-density, frictionless, and quiet operations. The combination of compliant members with embedded SMA wires makes the finger more compact and lightweight. Various SMA wire layouts are investigated to reduce their response time while maintaining sufficient output force. The mathematical models of finger deflection caused by SMA contraction are then derived along with experimental validations. As finger shapes are essential to the range of deflected motion and output force, we find its optimal initial shapes through the use of a shape parametrization technique. We further illustrate our method by designing a humanoid finger that is capable of three-dimensional manipulation. Since compliant fingers can be fabricated monolithically, we expect the proposed design method to be utilized for applications of various scales.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210091-210099
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Mechanical Design - Transactions of the ASME
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Feb

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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