Navigation Links
Robotic gripper runs on coffee ... and balloons
Date:10/25/2010

ITHACA, N.Y. The human hand is an amazing machine that can pick up, move and place objects easily, but for a robot, this "gripping" mechanism is a vexing challenge. Opting for simple elegance, researchers from Cornell University, University of Chicago and iRobot have bypassed traditional designs based around the human hand and fingers, and created a versatile gripper using everyday ground coffee and a latex party balloon.

They call it a universal gripper, as it conforms to the object it's grabbing rather than being designed for particular objects, said Hod Lipson, Cornell associate professor of mechanical engineering and computer science. The research is a collaboration between the groups of Lipson, Heinrich Jaeger at the University of Chicago, and Chris Jones at iRobot Corp. It is published today (Oct. 25) online in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"This is one of the closest things we've ever done that could be on the market tomorrow," Lipson said. He noted that the universality of the gripper makes future applications seemingly limitless, from the military using it to dismantle explosive devises or to move potentially dangerous objects, robotic arms in factories, on the feet of a robot that could walk on walls, or on prosthetic limbs.

Here's how it works: An everyday party balloon filled with ground coffee any variety will do is attached to a robotic arm. The coffee-filled balloon presses down and deforms around the desired object, and then a vacuum sucks the air out of the balloon, solidifying its grip. When the vacuum is released, the balloon becomes soft again, and the gripper lets go.

Jaeger said coffee is an example of a particulate material, which is characterized by 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.

This phenomenon is familiar to coffee drinkers familiar with vacuum-packed coffee, which is hard as a brick until the package is unsealed.

"The ground coffee grains are like lots of small gears," Lipson said. "When they are not pressed together they can roll over each other and flow. When they are pressed together just a little bit, the teeth interlock, and they become solid."

Jaeger explains that the concept of a "jamming transition" provides a unified framework for understanding and predicting behavior in a wide range of disordered, amorphous materials. All of these materials can be driven into a 'glassy' state where they respond like a solid yet structurally resemble a liquid, and this includes many liquids, colloids, emulsions or foams, as well as particulate matter consisting of macroscopic grains.

"What is particularly neat with the gripper is that here we have a case where a new concept in basic science provided a fresh perspective in a very different area robotics and then opened the door to applications none of us had originally thought about," Jaeger said.

Eric Brown, a postdoctoral researcher, and Nick Rodenberg, a physics undergraduate, worked with Jaeger on characterizing the basic mechanisms that enable the gripping action. Prototypes of the gripper were built and tested by Lipson and Cornell graduate student John Amend as well as at iRobot.

As for the right particulate material, anything that can jam will do in principle, and early prototypes involved rice, couscous and even ground- up tires. They settled on coffee because it's light but also jams well, Amend said. Sand did better on jamming but was prohibitively heavy. What sets the jamming-based gripper apart is its good performance with almost any object, including a raw egg or a coin both notoriously difficult for traditional robotic grippers.


'/>"/>

Contact: Blaine Friedlander
bpf2@cornell.edu
607-254-8093
Cornell University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology technology :

1. Dr. Ramin Mirhashemi, MD of Gynecological Oncology Associates Discusses Uterine Fibroid Treatment with da Vinci Robotic Hysterectomy Surgery
2. Health Robotics Releases Results of First 20 i.v.STATIONs Return On Investment (ROI) Studies in the USA and Canada
3. Health Robotics South East Asia Wins two key Cancer Therapy Outsourcing Projects in Malaysia and Thailand
4. Health Robotics and McKesson to Showcase i.v.STATION and i.v.SOFT at ASHPs Summer Meeting, Tampa, June 6-8, 2010
5. Stevens team places third in 2010 IEEE/NIST Mobile Microrobotics Challenge
6. Health Robotics i.v.STATION Certified as the Only Robot to Comply with Security Guidelines for Controlled Substances
7. World first remote heart operation to be carried out in Leicester using robotic arm
8. Haydon Kerk Motion Solutions Inspires Next Generation of Innovators as Silver Supplier of the FIRST Robotics Competition
9. Health Robotics to Showcase CytoCare at ISOPP (May 2010) and Charles University General Faculty Hospital of Prague
10. /C O R R E C T I O N -- Health Robotics/
11. Health Robotics Continues its Global Expansion With December 09 ASHPs Launch of Joint Venture in Canada
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:8/21/2017)... ... August 21, 2017 , ... The team ... two-part educational webinar, in which attendees will learn about the assembly and topological ... Along with an overview of the development and validation of new high-quality recombinant ...
(Date:8/17/2017)... ... 17, 2017 , ... Cynvenio Biosystems, Inc., a leader in ... of a new breast cancer monitoring study in partnership with Saint Luke’s Cancer ... for early detection of recurrent breast cancer using LiquidBiopsy and natural killer (NK) ...
(Date:8/16/2017)... OH (PRWEB) , ... August 16, 2017 , ... ... a beneficial microbe delivery system, announced it has secured $2M in funding from ... Queen City Angels, Carmen Innovations, and SVG Thrive Fund. With this investment, 3Bar ...
(Date:8/15/2017)... Charlotte, NC (PRWEB) , ... August 15, 2017 , ... ... in 2017, celebrating 10 years of successes helping medical technology companies and inventors develop ... company to a renowned full-service national engineering firm with a portfolio of clients in ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:3/30/2017)... -- On April 6-7, 2017, Sequencing.com will host the world,s ... at Microsoft,s headquarters in Redmond, Washington ... health and wellness apps that provide a unique, personalized ... is the first hackathon for personal genomics and the ... the genomics, tech and health industries are sending teams ...
(Date:3/27/2017)... , March 27, 2017  Catholic Health Services ... Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Analytics for achieving Stage ... Model sm . In addition, CHS previously earned ... hospitals using an electronic medical record (EMR). ... high level of EMR usage in an outpatient ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... , March 21, 2017   Neurotechnology ... object recognition technologies, today announced the release of ... (SDK), which provides improved facial recognition using up ... on a single computer. The new version uses ... improve accuracy, and it utilizes a Graphing Processing ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):