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Robotic Gripper Runs on Coffee and Balloons - Updated with video

I'm just on FIAH with these Topics. But this one's cool too.

Via ScienceDaily: A collaboration between researchers from Cornell, University of Chicago, and iRobot has resulted in a robot gripper that conforms to practically any object. From the article:

Here's how it works: An everyday party balloon filled with ground coffee -- any variety will do -- is attached to a robotic arm. The coffee-filled balloon presses down and deforms around the desired object, and then a vacuum sucks the air out of the balloon, solidifying its grip. When the vacuum is released, the balloon becomes soft again, and the gripper lets go.

This sounds like another hi-tech device that could easily be duplicated by a DIYer. All you need is a balloon, coffee grounds, and a vacuum pump.

Update 2 November: Found the video! It gives a much better idea of how the thing works.


Via, image from same.


Picture of Robotic Gripper Runs on Coffee and Balloons - Updated with video
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kelseymh6 years ago
The gripper has been duplicated, now. Posted in the MAKE blog overnight:
Steve Norris of Norris Labs presents his low-cost implementation of Cornell's jamming-skin-enabled balloon gripper using a Handi-Vac as a vacuum source.[via BotJunkie]
CameronSS (author)  kelseymh6 years ago
Yep, I saw that last night but decided to sleep instead of mentioning it on here. :)
gmjhowe6 years ago
'This sounds like another hi-tech device that could easily be duplicated by a DIYer--All you need is a balloon, coffee grounds, and a vacuum pump.'

... and a robotic arm. :P

I quite fancy making one to attach to my own arm. Would make for an interesting prosthetic.
Unfortunately, I think it would also be incredibly impractical - I can't imagine what material you could construct the outer membrane from that would protect it from the stresses of everyday usage.

:(
. Kevlar (or other aramid fiber)?
I hadn't thought of that! How flexible is it (I have no idea)?
.  Very close to nylon, rayon, &c. You may be able to use thinner, more flexible fibers than what is used in bullet-resistant vests and house wraps.
Oh! That's what that weather barrier stuff is made out of? Cool.

>Considers posting a DIY bulletproof vest out of house wrap...but people might think it's serious<

IIRC American Science and Surplus has some in the thread state for sale at the moment.  Knit your own Kevlar parts....
> Considers posting a DIY bulletproof vest out of house wrap...but people might think it's serious
. What's your point? Chuck Darwin roxorz!
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