Rose-inspired robotic gripper gently plucks up fragile items

When handling fragile objects, robots need to have a delicate touch. And while some previous efforts to give them that touch have involved things like soft rubbery fingers, an experimental new one was inspired by a blooming rose.

Currently in development at the Japan Advanced Institute of Technology, the device is know as ROSE (ROtation-based-Squeezing grippEr).

It consists of a soft, flexible elastomer funnel-shaped sleeve mounted on a rigid circular base. That base is in turn joined to an electric actuator, which can rotate the base (and connected sleeve) like a turntable.

When picking up a fragile object, the robot lowers the open-ended sleeve down onto and around it, so a good amount of the elastomer is making contact with the sides of the item. The actuator then rotates the base, causing the sleeve to softly crinkle and wrap itself around the object.

The item can then be lifted, moved, and then released simply by rotating the sleeve in the opposite direction to open it back up.

According to the scientists who created it, ROSE is less expensive to manufacture than traditional soft grippers, it can pick up a wider variety of objects because it applies pressure more gently and evenly, plus it’s very durable – it remained functional after 400,000 trials, and can still lift items even if the sleeve gets torn.

“The ROSE gripper holds significant potential to revolutionize gripping applications and gain widespread acceptance across various fields,” said the lead scientist, Assoc. Prof. Van Anh Ho. “Its straightforward yet robust and dependable design is set to inspire researchers and manufacturers to embrace it for a broad variety of gripping tasks in the near future.”

It’s demonstrated in the following video.

Source: JAIST

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This post originally appeared on TechToday.