Soft Robotic Gripper Picks Up And Identifies Variety of Objects

Rigid limbs and digits make it difficult for robots to grasp, hold, and manipulate a range of everyday objects without dropping or crushing them. Researchers at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory have demonstrated a 3D-printed robotic hand made out of silicone rubber that can lift and handle objects as delicate as an egg and as thin as a compact disc. When the gripper hones in an object, the fingers use special 'bend sensors' to send back location data based on their curvature. Using this data, the robot can pick up an unknown object and compare it to the existing clusters of data points that represent past objects. With just three data points from a single grasp, the robot's algorithms can distinguish between objects as similar in size as a cup and a lemonade bottle.