Speedy Robo-Gripper Reflexively Organizes Cluttered Spaces

Looking to give robots a more nimble, human-like touch, MIT engineers have developed a gripper that grasps by reflex. The team’s robot adapts in the moment to reflexively roll, palm, or pinch an object to get a better hold. Watch this video to see it carry out these “last centimeter” adjustments without engaging a higher-level planner.

“In environments where people live and work, there’s always going to be uncertainty,” says Andrew SaLoutos , a graduate student in MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering. “Someone could put something new on a desk or move something in the break room or add an extra dish to the sink. We’re hoping a robot with reflexes could adapt and work with this kind of uncertainty.”