Robotic Gripper Picks Up Objects Using Coffee Grounds and a BalloonBy Quick, Darren; Gizmag,
Publication Date: October 25, 2010
Article features a robotic gripper that conforms to objects as it picks them up, thus exerting enough force to grip them without breaking the more fragile ones. The Universal Gripper is attached to a robotic arm and consists of an everyday party balloon filled with ground coffee. The balloon presses down and deforms around the object to be picked up, and then a vacuum sucks the air out of the balloon to solidify the grip on the object. When the vacuum is released, the balloon gripper becomes soft and lets go of the object. The robotic gripper is able to form a solid grip because the coffee is a particulate material made up of large aggregates of individually solid particles. Particulate materials have a so-called jamming transition which turns their behavior from fluid-like to solid-like when the particles can no longer slide past each other. According to its designers, the gripper can pick up almost any object, including a raw egg and a coin, both of which are notoriously difficult for traditional robotic grippers. Research that led to the creation of the gripper was a collaboration between the University of Chicago, Cornell University, and iRobot Corporation.
Published by: Gizmag Pty Ltd (Website:http://www.gizmag.com/)
Link to text: http://www.gizmag.com/universal-robotic-gripper/16729