F. Sanfilippo, H. Zhang


The authors gratefully acknowledge the contribution of the students Stian Sandviknes, Ole Jonny Varhaugvik and Andreas Bull Enger in the realisation and implementation of this work.


ModGrasp is a virtual and physical prototyping framework that allows for rapid-prototyping low-cost sensorised modular grasping hands, is presented. The idea is shown in the following Figure.

The rapid-prototyping approach is combined with the modular concept so that different manipulator configurations can be rapidly modelled. This process consists of an immersive design process that involves mechanics, hardware and software. A real-time one-to-one correspondence between virtual and physical prototypes is established. The quality of grasping for the different modular manipulators can be assessed by simply measuring the current load and calculating the corresponding torque for each actuator. An intuitive visual feedback is also provided during the designing phase by means of a 3-D visualisation environment. Moreover, both the virtual models and their physical counterparts can be controlled by using the same input device. In particular, either a mouse or an array of potentiometer shafts can be used as input controllers. ModGrasp is meant to be used by students and researchers and it is available on the Internet under a Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) license at, along with several detailed class diagrams, all the mechanics, hardware schematics and some demo videos.

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