Dextrous Robotic Gripper Can Manipulate Cables

Manipulating thin flexible objects like ropes, wires, or cables is very challenging for robots. As it moves, a wire's shape is changing and the robot’s fingers must be constantly sensing and adjusting the wire’s position and motion. An MIT  team’s new system uses a pair of soft robotic grippers with high-resolution tactile sensors to successfully manipulate freely moving cables. It has no added mechanical restraints. The system involves a novel two-fingered gripper with vision-based "GelSight" sensors, along with a perception-and-control framework that allows cable manipulation. The robot demonstrated its nimble, real-time adjustments by plugging earbuds into a cell phone.

Read the full Tech Briefs story and interview with research team leader, MIT postdoc Yu She.