Gripping with grounds

Jul 16, 2013

There are several different grippers and end of arm tools for robotic arms. The grippers can have mechanical hands, jaws, claws, or suction. Gripping with coffee groups is a new technology that people are coming up with.


Over the years, researchers have designed sev­er­al dif­fer­ent grip­ping end effec­tors for robot­ic arms. These grip­pers either worked with mechan­i­cal hands, jaws, claws or suc­tion. How­ev­er, one group of researchers has the­o­rized that the best grip­per may not be any of those at all.

The answer may be so sim­ple it may seem sil­ly – cof­fee grounds in a latex balloon.

Yes, that’s right – with all the mech­a­nisms avail­able to manip­u­late, assem­ble, lift, haul and pal­letize items, it is this sim­ple end effec­tor that may change the whole game.

Researchers at Cor­nell Uni­ver­si­ty designed this new grip­per that they dubbed the uni­ver­sal grip­per.” Accord­ing to an arti­cle by Rebec­ca Boyle, this uni­ver­sal grip­per takes advan­tage of a phys­i­cal phe­nom­e­non called jam­ming transition.

Her exam­ple of this mat­ter tran­si­tion uses cof­fee grounds. When cof­fee grounds are vac­u­um sealed, they seem to be in a sol­id state, but when you open that seal, they start to move more like a liq­uid. This uni­ver­sal grip­per builds on that idea of mat­ter transition.

The bal­loon filled with cof­fee grounds is attached to a robot­ic arm and low­ered to flu­id­ly con­form around the item it is going to lift. Then, all the air is sucked out of the bal­loon and the cof­fee grounds become a sol­id, hold­ing the item in place. When the vac­u­um stops, the cof­fee grounds in the bal­loon revert back to their liq­uid-like form.

While this may be a new wave for grip­ping end effec­tors, pos­si­bly using oth­er types of durable latex or plas­tics and low­er cost items like sand, that work sim­i­lar­ly to cof­fee, it remains to be seen if this uni­ver­sal grip­per will ever out­live the robot­ic grip­pers already in ser­vice, espe­cial­ly those fash­ioned to look so much like that which we use every day – our own hands.

Robots​.com, a cer­ti­fied inte­gra­tor for sev­er­al end effec­tor retail­ers, has sev­er­al robot grip­pers avail­able for pur­chase and cus­tomiza­tion. We help our cus­tomers match the right end effec­tors to the right robots and systems.

For more infor­ma­tion, con­tact Robots​.com today online or at 8777626881.

Let's talk!

Request your quick quote today.