The new robot manipulates objects without touching them

The new robot manipulates objects without touching them

An engineer has developed a robotic gripper that is able to manipulate small and fragile objects using sound waves.

Conventional robotic grippers can often damage fragile objects. An alternative is their soft rubber-like counterparts, which do not damage objects, but quickly become dirty and have limited manipulation accuracy. These options are poorly suited to work with valuable objects..

Therefore, an engineer from the Swiss Higher Technical School of Zurich Marcel Schuk decided to use ultrasonic waves, which, when superimposed on each other, are capable of exerting pressure imperceptible to humans..

As a result, he created an electronically controlled robotic gripper, consisting of two hemispheres covered from the inside with small speakers. With the help of special software, it is possible to achieve movement of the acoustic pressure point. This allows you to grip and manipulate objects without direct contact with the surface. The specificity of the technology is also allows work with objects of any shape without changing settings or additional device modifications.

According to the developer, such a grip is necessary for manufacturers of microchips, watches and other products related to high-precision micromechanics. He plans to launch a startup and release a full-fledged prototype by the spring of 2021..

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Engineers are rapidly improving the capabilities of robotics. Recently researchers taught a robot to repair its own body and modify its body.

text: Ilya Bauer, photo: ETH Zurich

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