MIT researchers develop a new type of robotic gripper

In recent years, the robotic jamming gripper has shown their success in grasping different shaped objects. It also currently included the capability of shooting objects to some distance. Now, MIT researchers have taken this technology to one step ahead by developing a robotic arm with the ability to twist, bend, and hold like an elephant’s trunk.

MIT team has used the jamming granular media (also called as coffee grounds) in the robotic arm, which was created jointly by Cornell University, University of Chicago, and iRobot in their universal gripper. The concept is that it will be free and flexible until the air is removed, and the coffee grounds will squeeze together to turn into rigid. This technique certainly helps in gripping any kind of material.

As an improvement to this technology, the MIT researchers have added five jamming segments together at its ends. Each segment is separated by a vacuum valve. It also adds four control cables placed at 90 degree intervals around the outside of the gripper to pull out a motion. As a result, the movement of robotic arm is changed when particular segments are jammed and loosened for gripping objects, and this resembles the appearance of an elephant’s trunk.

The below video brings you the gripping performance of MIT’s elephant trunk like robotic arm:

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