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  1. Abstract In this paper, we present a novel compliant robotic gripper with three variable stiffness fingers. While the shape morphing of the fingers is cable-driven, the stiffness variation is enabled by layer jamming. The inherent flexibility makes compliant gripper suitable for tasks such as grasping soft and irregular objects. However, their relatively low load capacity due to intrinsic compliance limits their applications. Variable stiffness robotic grippers have the potential to address this challenge as their stiffness can be tuned on demand of tasks. In our design, the compliant backbone of finger is made of 3D-printed PLA materials sandwiched between thinmore »film materials. The workflow of the robotic gripper follows two basic steps. First, the compliant skeleton is driven by a servo motor via a tension cable and bend to a desired shape. Second, upon application of a negative pressure, the finger is stiffened up because friction between contact surfaces of layers that prevents their relative movement increases. As a result, their load capacity will be increased proportionally. Tests for stiffness of individual finger and load capacity of the robotic gripper are conducted to validate capability of the design. The results showed a 180-fold increase in stiffness of individual finger and a 30-fold increase in gripper’s load capacity.« less