This robot gripper looks like a wilted flower, but it can lift 100 times its own weight

Professor Daniela Rus of MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), when asked to imagine a robot, will think of a human-like bots or high-strength industrial robotic arms. She The Verge .

MIT says her team's latest work is a perfect example. A robot gripper designed to pick up objects. However, the appearance is not strange. Visually, they have more in common with rubber tulips than airborne robotic hands, or balloons that vent the air.

A unique shape that makes a gripper potentially useful. Below the rubber skin is a starfish-shaped origami skull. As the gas is pumped from the gripper's enclosure, the entire device opens and closes like a flower.

This device can pick up delicate objects without damaging delicate objects, while maintaining enough grip to lift 100 times its weight. "By combining this foldable skeleton with a soft exterior, we can enjoy all the advantages of both worlds," says Rus. The Verge . "I am happy to use such a robot hand to start grocery."

Such a soft robot gripper is not new. Over the last decade, this sector has boomed with engineers who want to leverage soft machines. One natural use case is logistics. Collect items from warehouses and factories. Much of this work has been automated, but companies such as Amazon are widely used to treat personnel as individual items and pack them in bags or boxes.

This is because traditional robot grippers made of metal and hard plastic suffer from delicate objects and irregular shapes. The outdated "clush, destroy" of a killer robot that can not be controlled is not far from here. In today's factory, ordinary robots can not pack rotating eggs with orange juice in omelets and oranges.


this robot gripper looks like a wilted flower but it can lift 100 times its own weight

Photo: MIT CSAIL

The soft robot gripper looks like the best solution to this problem. Over the past few years


this robot gripper looks like a wilted flower but it can lift 100 times its own weight

The gripper has been tested on a variety of targets including fruits, vegetables, bottles, cans and more. I saw explosion of such a technology. In addition to commercial companies such as RightHand Robotics, research institutes such as CSAIL have developed everything from inflatable robotic hands to beanie grippers and octopus tentacle modules.

Rus says that the new gripper is a better solution than the existing design. Its tulip shape generally means that you can access the object from the angle of the original, unlike a hand gripper that must be on the side of the object. The origami skeleton that Rus and her team debuted in 2017 has enhanced flexibility and flexibility.

] As for why such a device has not yet been adopted, commercial solutions have yet to catch up with "innovations in the laboratory" Because of this, Rus said. Another reason could be institutional inertia. Once companies have invested in expensive equipment, replacing them is not an easy decision, especially if you update your hardware to rearrange the entire production line.

There is no doubt that the field of soft robots continues to spout bizarre and potentially useful work. It will not be long until our spiritual picture of what the robot looks like when Rus and his co-workers turn to the goodness. Rus said, "This is the first time we know how to make a robot hand that can do these useful things.

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