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"Jamming" Robot Gripper Gets Official: Article Published in PNAS

Remember that compliant "jamming" end effector unveiled by Colin Angle (iRobot CEO) at TEDMED 2009? Even then, it was demonstrated picking up medication bottles, keys, and water bottles (a hand-held version was also demonstrated). Well, it just got a whole-lot more official with the publication of "Universal robotic gripper based on the jamming of granular material" in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The cool thing about this method of grasping is its relative simplicity: a rubber sack (balloon) filled with coffee grounds is pressed onto an object, it conforms to the object's natural contours, and the air is pumped out (a volume change less than 0.5%) to form a stable grasp-- no complex grasp planning required. Be sure to check out the new video and photos!

The latest effort is a joint effort between U. Chicago, Cornell, and iRobot. Here is a video of the robot grasping all sorts of objects (eggs, LEDs, tubing, light bulbs, pens, etc.), pouring water, and writing with a pen.

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