A brand-new robotic gripper is a strong “hand” with a soft touch.

The bell-shaped gripper has a silicone rubber skeleton with a complex origami style, covered in an airtight, latex rubber skin. When a vacuum draws air out of the gripper, the skin restricts, requiring the origami skeleton to collapse into a narrow funnel. The bunched-up gripper’s rigged interior and rough latex skin assist it keep ahold of items.

Shuguang Li, a roboticist at Harvard University and MIT, and associates prepare to provide this gadget at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation in Montreal in Might.

In laboratory experiments, the soft gripper got home items of different shapes and sizes, effectively glomming onto a smart device and the manage of a mug, to name a few things. Whereas stiff robotic hands do not have mastery and may be accountable to squash fragile items, this rubber gripper carefully deals with delicate products such as soft fruits and white wine glasses.

And unlike other soft robotic hands, which have a hard time to raise heavy freight, this gadget might raise to about 12 kgs– more than 120 times its own weight ( SN: 9/16/17, p. 8). That capability enabled the gripper to raise an electrical drill and a complete bottle of white wine. Such a flexible grasping maker might one day deal with a factory assembly line or aid around your house.

ON HAND A brand-new soft robotic gripper gets items of different shapes and sizes without letting much heavier items slip out of its grasp or squashing fragile products.