‘Most dexterous robot’ unveiled, by Cambridge Consultants
Its “flexible, human-like fingers are able to pick up small, irregular and delicate items, enabling full warehouse automation for the first time”, according to the firm.
Its soft fingers are controlled by air-flows that can both flex each finger and apply force, and touch sensors on each finger provide feedback – “This means that the end effector does not require millimeter-accurate positioning to grasp an object”, said Cambridge Consultants.
It can locate an object, adjust overall system position and then to grasp that object, increasing force if a slip is detected, and warning if a mishandled object is dropped.
The hollow fingers are moulded from food-safe cleanable silicone, and are intended to be a low-cost consumable when damaged or worn.
“Hank could have valuable applications in agriculture and warehouse automation, where the ability to pick small, irregular and delicate items has been one of the industry’s grand challenges,” said the firm, which has created custom robots before. “We draw on a wealth of experience when addressing each new challenge, having created robotic solutions across a range of industries, including industrial, consumer, agricultural and medical.”
There is an video of the intriguing fingers in action.