A new soft robot gripper can feel and identify the objects it picks up. Traditionally, soft robots cannot sense what they pick up and cannot gauge the amount of pressure to apply when picking up each object. These sensors will allow robots to pick up fragile and heavy objects with ease.
The gripper has latex sensors that are connected to pressure transducers. This helps the robot determine what the object is while also modifying how it touches and picks up objects. Out of ten objects, the robot has guessed over 90% accurately.
“We wish to enable seeing the world by feeling the world. Soft robot hands have sensorized skins that allow them to pick up a range of objects, from delicate, such as potato chips, to heavy, such as milk bottles,” says CSAIL Director Daniela Rus.
Scientists expect these sensors will help manufacturing industries with efficiently performing a wider range of complex automation tasks, such as the packaging and lifting of a variety of objects by a single robot.