In this paper, we propose an underactuated robotic finger whose grasp behavior is modulated by the design of its superelastic joints. Using shape-memory alloy, the finger joints can be given specific stiffness and pre-form shapes such that a single-cable actuation rather than opposing-pair actuation can be used; this also allows the grasping motions of the phalanges to be synchronized in the free phase and then adaptive once contact is made. A default-closed pre-tensioned configuration allows grasp forces to be maximal for larger objects and still keeps control components such as tendons out of the grasp workspace. The simplicity of the design lends itself to the possibility of integrated joint angle and surface pressure sensing on the finger itself. The details of design, prototyping and testing are described.

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