Phys.org: Soft robots do a lot of things well but they're not exactly known for their speed. The artificial muscles that move soft robots, called actuators, tend to rely on hydraulics or pneumatics, which are slow to respond and difficult to store.
Dielectric elastomers, soft materials that have good insulating properties, could offer an alternative to pneumatic actuators but they currently require complex and inefficient circuitry to deliver high voltage as well as rigid components to maintain their form—both of which defeat the purpose of a soft robot.
Now, researchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed a dielectric elastomer with a broad range of motion that requires relatively low voltage and no rigid components. They published their work recently in Advanced Materials. Cont'd...
Near-field communication (NFC) protocols allow data from intelligent vacuum components to be read directly from the processor of a device to a mobile end device, opening up totally new opportunities for optimizing production processes. This is what Industry 4.0 is all about.
SCHUNK has introduced several improvements on the original PGN-Plus and has announced the newest generation gripper, PGN-Plus-P. Enlarged supporting dimensions between the six load-bearing shoulders of the multi-tooth guidance allow higher moment capacity which can accommodated longer fingers and greater loads.
The EGP from SCHUNK is the electric small part gripper with the most compact performance on the market. SCHUNK expanded the EGP series with a smaller size (25) which weighs 110g and has a stroke of 3 mm per finger.
Engineers use the environment to give simple robotic grippers more dexterity.
Engineers at MIT have now hit upon a way to impart more dexterity to simple robotic grippers: using the environment as a helping hand. The team, led by Alberto Rodriguez, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, and graduate student Nikhil Chavan-Dafle, has developed a model that predicts the force with which a robotic gripper needs to push against various fixtures in the environment in order to adjust its grasp on an object.
This unit allows highly dynamic and smooth pick & place operations in confined spaces of the complex assembly plants, assembling electronics, medical, and consumer goods with rotating angles of 90° or 180.
ST Robotics has announced today the release of its new passive tool changer system, the TC12, an innovative changer that requires no compressed air or electrics to operate, for the ST Robotics R12 five and six-axis articulated robot arms.
By David Szondy for Gizmag: One of the biggest events at the recent 2015 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) in Seattle was the first Amazon Picking Challenge, in which 31 teams from around the world competed for US$26,000 in prizes. The challenge set entrants with the real-world task of building a robot that can do the same job as an Amazon stock picker.According to Amazon Chief Technology Officer Peter Wurman, who initiated the challenge, the task of picking items off the shelf may seem simple, but it involves all domains of robotics. The robot has to capable of object and pose recognition. It must be able to plan its grasps, adjust manipulations, plan how to move, and be able to execute tasks while noticing and correcting any errors.
This might suggest that the robots would need to be of a new, specialized design, but for the Picking Challenge, Amazon made no such requirement. According to one participant we talked to, the more important factors were sensors and computer modelling, so ICRA 2015 saw all sorts of robots competing, such as the general purpose Baxter and PR2, industrial arms of various sizes, and even special-built frames that move up, down, left or right to position the arm. Even the manipulators used by the various teams ranged from hooks, to hand-like graspers, and vacuum pickups. Continue reading for competition results:
Great advances often start with small steps - in manufacturing cells measuring only 600 × 600 mm. Here, the KR 3 AGILUS is in its element. Particularly in the case of small parts and products which must be produced in a minimum of space. KUKA expertise, concentrated into the smallest of spaces, is setting new standards for the 3-kg class. The lightweight robot masters various tasks with agility, dynamism and maximum precision, leading to high flexibility in production - even when it comes to extremely narrow spaces.