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Origami-Inspired Robot Gripper Grasps Objects ­p to 120 Times Its Weight

By VentureBeat

March 19, 2019

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University researchers have designed a robot-mounted gripper that can lift items of various weights, shapes, and sizes.

The hollow, cone-shaped gripper combines a three-dimensionally-printed, 16-piece silicone rubber skeleton, with a gripper-to-mount connector clad within airtight skin, which together collapse in on objects.

Its inspiration is the "magic ball," an origami design folded from a rectangular piece of paper pre-creased with a repeating, offset pattern that reversibly transitions between a spherical and cylindrical configuration.

A pneumatic vacuum powers the gripper, which is covered by either a 27-inch latex rubber balloon, or a thermoplastic polyurethane-coated nylon fabric sheet.

One experiment demonstrated the gripper's ability to lift and grasp items that were 70% of its diameter, and up to 120 times its weight, without causing damage.

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