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MIT Creates Cheap And Robust Robotic Elephant Trunk

In recent years, the robotic jamming gripper technology has achieved significant success in developing grippers which can grasp different shaped objects. Some robotic gripper has the capability of throwing objects to some extent. Now, MIT researchers have created a robotic arm, called trunkbot, that can twist, bend and grip like an elephant’s trunk using advanced jamming technology. And, the gripping bot is very cheap and very robust.


Robotic Elephant Trunk, Image Credit : IEEE

Jamming has been one of the coolest new actuation techniques in the last few years. The MIT researchers have added five jamming segments together at its ends. Each segment is separated by a vacuum valve. It adds four control cables too placed at 90 degree intervals around the outer sides of the gripper to pull out a motion. As a result, the movement of the robotic arm is changed when particular segments are jammed and loosened for gripping objects, and this resembles the appearance of an elephant’s trunk. This project was created jointly by Cornell University, University of Chicago, and iRobot.

MIT researchers attached to the project have presented a paper entitled, Design and Analysis of a Robust, Low-Cost, Highly Articulated Manipulator Enabled by Jamming of Granular Media, at the 2012 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation last week.

Source : IEEE
Thanks To : Innovation Toronto

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