This Incredibly Precise Robot Arm Can Pick Up (Almost) Anything

Friday, 28 July 2017 - 3:37PM
Technology
Robotics
Friday, 28 July 2017 - 3:37PM
This Incredibly Precise Robot Arm Can Pick Up (Almost) Anything
Image credit: Right Hand Robotics
There are few jobs more obscure than that of a picker—though 'snake milker' and 'iceberg tower' certainly might hold the title. Pickers are more mundane. They're the folks who sort out different products from bins or assembly lines and make sure they find their way into the right place in a factory. It sounds like a pretty boring, mechanical job, which is why RightHand Robotics has been using robot arms to automate the process. Now they've created a new robot arm with finger-like appendages that allow it to pick up almost anything—including credit cards. Check it out!



Here's the official description of the company:

Opening quote
RightHand Robotics (RHR) is a leader in providing end-to-end solutions that reduce the cost of e-commerce order-fulfillment of electronics, apparel, grocery, pharmaceuticals, and countless other industries...RHR grew out of a team of researchers from Harvard Biorobotics Lab, the Yale Grab Lab, and MIT leading groundbreaking research in grasping systems, intelligent hardware sensors, computer vision, and applied machine learning.
Closing quote


We thought this all sounded about right—a tech company created by Harvard and MIT grads to revolutionize robotics seems natural. Then we saw "the Yale Grab Lab", and our interest was piqued. Doing a bit more digging, we found out that Yale does indeed have an entire robotics program devoted to studying and developing robotic hands, going so far as to "release a large dataset consisting of tagged video and image data of 28 hours of human grasping movements in unstructured environments", which we imagined to be unsettling footage of a bunch of disembodied hands clenching and unclenching in random places around a mall, lunging at people occasionally. There's also OpenHand, which, disappointingly, is not a project aimed at studying the effects of slapping people, but rather an initiative meant to help streamline the design of robotic hands by making the Lab's work open-source.

So there you go. If you didn't know there was a job called "picking," you do now. And if you didn't know there was a whole world of robotic hand research out there, that's also real.
Science
Science Videos
Technology
Robotics
No