My next steps for the gripper have been to add automated control to pick up the object. In order to do this I have purchased 2 air mattress pumps, 1 for inflation and 1 for deflation. They are connected using vacuum tubing and pvc pipe.
To switch the air flow I have added pvc ball joints that allow you to cut off the flow from one pump and switch it to the other. In the end, these joint will be controlled electronically. Currently the valves work manually as a proof of concept but are not optimal.
I have been unable to actually pick up objects right now and I think the problem is that the suction pump I am using is unable to pull enough air through.
Next I want to try to change the pumps to just some dc motor pumps to see if I can more precisely and quickly control the air flow.