Need help? This robotic hand can help you choose your food and serve it on your plate
Researchers from the Singapore University of Technology and Design’s (SUTD) Bio-Inspired Robotics and Design Lab have developed a workspace soft robotic gripper (RWS) new reconfigurable, can scoop, pick up, and grasp a variety of consumables. The adaptability and comprehensive capabilities of the RWS gripper make it particularly useful in the food and logistics industries, where they depend on robotic automation to meet the growing demands in picking and packing items efficiently.
The RWS tongs can reliably scoop rice or couscous with a radius as small as 1.5 mm or pick up objects as thin as 300 microns such as business cards or thin manuals from flat surfaces. It can also grip large convex, non-convex and deformed objects such as melons, cereal boxes or detergent refill bags that can weigh up to 1.4kg.
Compared to traditional hard grippers, soft grippers use compliant soft actuators and functional super-elastic materials, allowing them to securely and reliably grip a wider range of geometries . In addition, the soft gripper’s high degree of freedom and compliance allows several gripping modes to be realized despite the oversimplified and driven drive strategies.
Despite the advantages over their rigid counterparts, soft gripper capabilities such as contact effort are mostly a consequence of the gripper. working space, defined as the range of locations the robot can reach to interact with its physical environment. This, in turn, is largely limited by the clamp design. In addition, soft grips designed for particularly high picking tasks such as shoveling grain or large loads are often limited in their handling of other types of loads or flexibility in their handling.
To overcome these limitations, the SUTD team designed the RWS gripper using a multi-mode transmission, where the grip workspace of the soft gripper can be rapidly changed for different loads. have different contact area requirements. Their study titled ‘A Reconfigurable, Multimodal Workspace Soft Gripper for Advanced Gripping Tasks’ was published in Soft robot.
Modifiable RWS gripper and increase its grip workspace volume by 397% using a combination of shapeshifting fingers, retractable fingernails and openable palm wide, allowing for the widest range of grips ever achieved by a single soft gripper.
RWS clampIts ability to quickly reconfigure clamping workspaces makes it an ideal candidate for challenging applications that would otherwise require multiple task-specific clamps.
The SUTD team is taking steps to commercialize RWS clamps in various high-mix automation applications.
“We are in discussions with various logistics companies, both in the food and packaging sectors, to establish proof-of-value studies. The team is excited to create market impact and supply delivering new solutions to our industry partners,” said Assistant Professor Pablo Valdivia y Alvarado, Principal Investigator and Team Leader from SUTD.
Snehal Jain et al., Reconfigurable multi-modal workspace soft gripper for advanced grabbing tasks, Soft robot (2022). DOI: 10.1089/soro.2021.0225
Singapore University of Technology and Design
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