Researchers at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australia have developed a robot gripper that looks like a “tentacle” that can wrap around an object and lift it.
The surface of this gripper is made of soft cloth, and it can be wrapped around an object by being deformed by hydraulic pressure. It is expected to be used for work that requires soft wrapping of fragile objects such as fruit harvesting.
“This new soft-fabric gripper is thin, flat, and lightweight, and can be used to pull and retrieve objects from inside narrow structures such as pens inside tubes,” the researchers said. It is equipped with a real-time sensor that has 15 times the sensitivity of the conventional tentacle robot of the same type, and it is said that it can be lifted with a minimum grip force by wrapping around an object very softly.https://www.youtube.com/embed/kIelv-iABQs
In addition, this tentacle robot can change its altitude by heat, and in the experiment, it was able to lift an object of 1.8 kg, which is 220 times more than its own weight of only 8.2 g.
The research team says the gripper will be integrated into the tip of a robotic arm equipped with a previously developed haptic feedback device that will be commercially available in 12 to 16 months.
For example, if you attach this device to the fingertips of an artificial hand, you may be able to experience a slightly unusual cyborg feeling by pinching objects with the tentacles that extend from your fingertips, even if you cannot grasp the object directly with your hands. It’s also a device that makes you want to try what it feels like when you grab it.