This paper reports ongoing work on the design of a new gripper for garments handling. The development of this device is part of the CloPeMa European Project creating a robot system for automated manipulation of clothing and other textile items. First, we analyze the specificity of the application determining the requirements for the design and functioning of the grasping system. Textiles do not have a stable shape and cannot be manipulated on the basis of a priori geometric knowledge. The necessary exploration of the material and the environment is performed with the help of tactile sensors embedded in the fingertips of the gripper, complementing the vision system of the robotic work cell. The chosen design solution is a simple mechanism able to perform adequately the grasping task and to permit exploratory finger motions. The kinematics and statics of the mechanism are outlined briefly and, in accord with initial experiments, used to validate the design.

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