Should the robot arm pick up the package with a gripping claw or a suction cup? Dextrous Robotics opted for chopsticks instead – a solution with more precision than the competition.
Self-driving trucks are already in development, and the e-commerce giants are naturally dreaming of taking humans out of the equation and replacing us with parcel robots. Our five fingers are hard to beat, but new alternatives to the human hand are constantly being introduced — everything from mechanical versions with delicate fingertips to tentacles inspired by octopus arms.
Reports now IEEE Spectrum Dextrous Robotics offers an extraordinarily simple alternative. These are peeled chopsticks. If you think the solution is improper, you should consider that a person who used to use chopsticks can pick up a single grain of rice, as well as lift and flip large objects relative to the stick itself.
The direction and pressure of the screws are in turn controlled by two other conventional robot arms, and the entire assembly takes up little space. The startup behind the technology is based in Memphis, Tennessee. The Dextrous Robotics solution is primarily designed for unloading trucks, but can also take on more advanced moves.
Transferring packets does not require advanced maneuvering, but a small batch may suffice. Compared, for example, to solutions that use rubber bands, sticks provide much greater accuracy.
Since the sticks are round and symmetrical, you can use a much simpler algorithm. It is, of course, a difficult task to develop software that will imitate human ingenuity – however, Dextrous Robotics believes it has a system that could allow it to develop a final product faster than competing solutions.