Robotic Grippers Use Static Electricity to Pick Up Objects

#Robots

Mon, Oct 27th, 2014 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

The Verge brings to attention these robotics pickers by startup GrabIt which use "electrostatic attraction to gently pick up and transport objects."

Grippers are the business end of robots: without them, machines wouldn't be able to pick up or manipulate objects. But it's not easy to pick things up: many robots rely on mechanical movements or vacuum suction, both of which are big, expensive, and power hungry. More importantly, they can be less flexible than grippers that use electrostatic attraction — often they need to be reconfigured to pick up particular objects. And they can struggle to pick up fragile objects like sheets of glass. GrabIt says it's overcome that issue with its powered electrodes — they evenly distribute force across a large surface area. And the technology's not just for robot hands. One of the more promising ideas is to build the electrodes into conveyer belts to help sort objects or allow for steeper inclines on manufacturing belts.

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