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'Robotic Snake' Device Grips, Picks Up Objects


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The robotic gripper grasping objects of different weights.

Engineers at the University of New South Wales Sydney in Australia have developed a soft robotic gripper that can grasp, pick up, and release fragile objects without breaking them.

Credit: UNSW Engineering

A soft fabric robotic gripper developed by engineers at the University of New South Wales Sydney (UNSW) in Australia can grasp, pick up, and release fragile objects without breaking them.

The gripper's design was inspired by the way an elephant, python, or octopus is able to coil around an object.

The robotic gripper is thin, flat, and lightweight and can grasp objects from confined hollow spaces.

The gripper is equipped with a real-time force sensor that is 15 times more sensitive than conventional designs, and a thermally-activated mechanism that allows the gripper body to transition between rigidity and flexibility.

A prototype weighing 8.2 grams lifted an object weighing 1.8 kilograms, or more than 220 times the gripper's mass.

UNSW's Thanh Nho Do said the team plans to "develop a closed-loop control algorithm, and integrate the gripper into the ends of robotic arms for gripping and manipulating objects autonomously."

From University of New South Wales Sydney Newsroom
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