The Korea Institute of Mechanical Engineering and Materials (KIMM) has created a versatile gripping technology that allows robots to store, touch, and handle objects of various shapes and stiffnesses. Thanks to the new technology, one gripper can be used to handle a variety of objects such as screwdrivers, light bulbs, coffee pots and even delicate foods such as tofu, strawberries and raw chicken. The gripper is expected to be used in non-contact services such as housework, food preparation, serving, packaging and manufacturing.
A gripper is a device that allows robots to hold and handle objects like a human hand. The robotics team has developed universal grippers that provide non-contact handling. Contactless services require gripping technology so that robots can freely handle objects regardless of their shape or material.
The universal grip has been designed to grip objects of various shapes, sizes and rigidity. The rigidity of the gripping surface in contact with the object is soft enough. This extremely low stiffness inherently can prevent damage to the object. In addition, only the area pressed by the object is selectively deformed, so the gripping contact surface can be deformed to fit perfectly with the contour of the target object, and this can help realize a secure grip.
“Soft structure technology allows the gripping surface to perfectly match targets in an extremely soft state using a honeycomb structure and an extensible mesh structure.”Song Hyuk Song, Senior Research Fellow
Once gripped, the gripping surface hardens, holding the object firmly in the grip. This function allows you to safely hold objects, including those with fragile surfaces. The sense of stability provided by the grip is such that users will feel like it has been customized for a specific object.
“Regular grips only apply to a few objects, but our universal grips can be applied to different objects of different shapes and sizes, because the shape and rigidity of the gripping surface can be changed to suit the target object.”
Changhun Park, Head of Robotics and Mechatronics Department.
The versatile grip can securely hold the target object instead of leaving it unstable. Therefore, the gripper has the advantage that it can not only move objects, but also perform complex tasks such as making a squeezed lemon cocktail, making chicken, making soup or making a squid dish, none of which could be done with using existing grippers.