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We propose a technology for manipulating the position and orientation of an object in a contactless manner over an extended range. This technology involves multiple ejectors that stream jets of compressed air onto an object from various directions. By regulating the air jet directions and flow rates, the object can be actively "force closured" and its position and orientation can be manipulated freely. As the first step of this research, in this paper, we discuss technological challenges for this method. Next we provide a preliminary investigation with one degree-of-freedom planar experimental system using a continuous and a PWM air jet ejection method. Based on this investigation, we examine problems relating to the use of three air nozzles to control the position of a cylindrical object in two degrees of planar freedom.
Date of Conference: 9-13 May 2011