Robotics Grip Into Life
The following article is part of our archive and was published on 6/9/2014
Robotic hands with 3D visual sensors and memory banks will make mechanical gripping more sophisticated.These hands, constructed at University of Birmingham, are programed to have two grips. They can use a pinch grip of thumb and first two fingers, or they can use a strong, all finger grasp around the object. The hands are then ‘taught’ a mass of objects. The hands are given an object, and based on weight and fragility, the hand adapts either of the two holds to the object. That experience is stored in the robot’s memory for future referal. Thus, when plunged into a heap and tasked with picking out a single object, the robot knows how to go about achieving this.
The robot’s fingers are equipped with light sensors. It can remember shape and size, but it can also adjust its grip on an object based on placement. This adaptation to a situation is priceless amongst robotic equipment, especially when working with, for example, hazardous materials.
Such hands are immensely applicable. In a nuclear plant, such hands could safely redistribute energy bars used in the reactor. More mundanely, however, the hands are just as useful. When working with humans, for example, in an office, such robots would be exposed to a plethora of items and various tasks involving each.
Robitics have certainly progressed since the huge, wheeling, fridge-like bits of the fifties. Uses keep popping up, and soon, robots could be used for household chores. As long as we remember the lessons of Asimov, robots will help humanity progress.
Sources: The Engineer, New Scientist
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