Safety is one of the most important factors in the robot interaction with unknown and dynamic environments. Recent studies have shown that the use of compliant components as a solution to the safety issue, especially in the physical human-robot interaction. To overcome performance degradation caused by including compliant elements into the systems, variable stiffness approaches have been introduced at the cost of an extra actuator. A variable stiffness gripper is presented. Embodiments of the disclosed gripper may have, for example, with two parallel fingers (jaws). Compliance of the system may be generated by using magnets as the nonlinear springs. Based on the presented design, the position and stiffness level of the fingers can be adjusted simultaneously by changing the air gap between the magnets.