Ocado Tests Soft Robot Hand For Picking Fruit

Posted: Feb 1 2017, 7:51am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

 

Ocado Tests Soft Robot Hand for Picking Fruit
  • Ocado tests fruit-picking soft robot hands
 

A sensitive hand that will be used to collect fruits and vegetables comes courtesy of the science of robotics.

The Internet-based green grocers store known as Ocado has come up with a very intricate robotic hand that will pick and pack fruits and vegetables in warehouses without bruising them in the slightest way.

The warehouse is located in Andover, Hampshire. The robots arrange the fruits in crates which are then sent to various customers. While at present a human team is doing all the necessary work, in the near future it could be replaced with many robotic hands. 

A robot termed SecondHands is currently under construction. It will be completed shortly. This robot is humanoid in its nature. This project has been in the making since the past half a decade. It was funded by the EU and Disney Studios.

Termed Soma (Soft Manipulation) this hand robot will serve Ocada well. This gadget is only meant for “demo” purposes right now though, according to BBC.

Among the sort of techniques that have been employed in the repertoire of the robots are suction cups, hands with three appendages and other attempts to mimic the human hand. 

The grip power of the soft robot hand is based on air pressure. The fingers move in unison thanks to this technology. Both computer vision and gripping maneuvers are combined in a singular manner in this robot.

Together they allow the fruits and vegetables to be picked in a systematic and sensitive manner. Also the applications of this technology are for myriad products such as alcohol bottles and detergent boxes.

However, fruits and vegetables are the hardest natural stuff to pick and pack. They require a delicate ability to be plucked and arranged in their respective crates. 

When the client gets a box of apples or oranges that are badly damaged, they refuse to buy from the store in the future. Also the reputation and image of the store is for all purposes ruined since the news of this raw deal dealt to the clientele is passed on by word of mouth.

Building robots and manipulatory devices is a tough job. It is not child’s play. The many tasks they carry out require precision and extra attention to the finer details.

The human hand is a marvel of biology. To copy its flexibility and agility via the field of AI is a backbreaking project. Different laws apply to different sorts of manipulating robotic hands since they carry out variegated purposes. 

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