SINGAPORE ENGINEERS BUILD ROBOTIC FINGERS WITH DELICATE GRIP

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ROBOTIC FINGERS

According to experts at the National University of Singapore, the robotics system is designed to suit the demands of businesses. Such as vertical farming and food assembly. Since it can hold things ranging from soft and delicate to bulky and heavy.

Engineers at the National University of Singapore (NUS) have developed a robotics system. That can grasp a variety of items, ranging from soft and delicate to bulky and heavy, according to the researchers. The robotic hand, which is designed to be adaptable, is said to fulfil the demands of vertical farming. Food assembly, and fast-moving consumer products packaging, with a 23 percent increase in efficiency.

According to NUS, these sectors were gradually automating more of their operations, although other procedures still required manual management. The innate dexterity of the human hand was still required for these jobs.

NUS Advanced Robotics Centre

NUS Advanced Robotics Centre and Department of Biomedical Engineering associate professor Rave Yeow said: “The form, texture, weight, and size of an object influence how we hold it. One of the key reasons why many companies still rely significantly on human labour. To wrap and handle fragile commodities is because of this.”

To overcome this, robotic grippers may made with three or four soft and flexible 3D-printed fingers that rest on a changeable base. The fingers powered by air and include a locking mechanism that allows the stiffness level to altered.

Computer vision and deep learning technologies drive the robotic system, allowing it to recognise the type of item and establish its direction. It then chooses how to pick and put the things in the most efficient way possible, reducing the need for extensive human participation.

Hybrid Robotic Gripper Technology

“Our hybrid robotic gripper technology revolutionises typical pick-and-place jobs by giving sophisticated capabilities that allow robots to securely interact with delicate things of diverse forms, sizes, and stiffness, exactly like the human hand,” stated the project’s lead researcher, Yeow.

The gripper system, according to NUS, can configured “on-demand” and can equipped with three grip variants to suit various applications.

ROBOTIC FINGERS

For example, the GourmetGrip designed for granular chores like handling delicate bite-sized food items or products that easily damaged, such as tofu, and packaging them into takeaway boxes. This alternative, dubbed “soft-handed mode,” may accommodate a variety of grip positions and function under a variety of space constraints.

GourmetGrip

GourmetGrip, which mounted to an industrial robotic arm, could choose and position food items at a human-like speed and consistency around the clock, according to NUS. In comparison to other commercially available grippers, this system mode improved gripping effectiveness by 23%, grasping things faster and more precisely, according to the university.

GourmetGrip can presently pick up over 50 different varieties of food, including pudding, cut cakes, and fruits.

Universal Soft Gripper (UnisoGrip), another gripper choice, is ideal for handling packaged items in assembly lines, particularly when they are in the last steps of packed into shipping boxes. According to NUS, this choice, which predicted to the most versatile in terms of job applicability, have its grip range significantly enlarged. The system is bigger than GourmetGrip, and it can handle things up to 30cm broad and 3kg in weight.

UnisoGrip

UnisoGrip also contains rotating soft gripper fingers for delicate objects and a vacuum suction cup. For navigating tighter places or awkwardly positioned tasks. Such as the corner of a tote bin. It can now pick up over 30 different types of consumer items, such as coffee powder packs. Refillable detergent packs, and bottled beverages.

According to NUS, customers also create a gripping system. Based on GourmetGrip and UnisoGrip that totally tailored to their business needs and space restrictions. In fact, a system created specifically for People Bee Hoon Factory, a rice vermicelli maker situated in Singapore. It asked the NUS team to design a mechanism that could pack rice vermicelli packets into carton cartons efficiently.

Desmond Goh

Desmond Goh, the director of People Bee Hoon Factor, said: “Because the majority of our current employees experienced professionals. We looked for innovative technologies that may reduce their workload while also increasing their productivity. We chose this technology because it is capable of meeting our needs. And has the flexibility we want for various deployments.”

The NUS engineers are now attempting to market the invention through their business RoPlus (RO+). They want to give potential commercial partners a variety of ways to deploy the robotic system. Including bundling it with a robotic arm or selling it separately to clients. Who already have commercial robot arms that can fitted to the gripper system.

A comprehensive product offering will be provided, including the gripper, robotic arm, computer vision capabilities, and conveyor system.

RO+

The NUS engineers are presently striving to improve the system’s capacity. To detect additional things by training it with machine learning and an online library.

RO+ supported by the NUS Graduate Research Innovation Programme, which funds firms formed by academics and researchers at the institution. Low Jin Huat, Khin Phone May, and Chen Chao-Yu. As well as undergraduate student Han Qian Qian, make up the squad. Singapore’s National Robotics Programme and Agency for Science, Technology, and Research also contributed to the gripper system’s development.

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