Massachusetts Patent of the Month – July 2021

Robotic tools require end-of-arm-tools (EOATs) to interact with the real world. For instance, a two finger attachment can be used as a grasping or gripping system. These graspers are great for automated retrieval in a warehouse. However, as product or storage changes, different EOATs would be needed. Soft Robotics, Inc. is an industry-leading and award-winning technology company with specialties in AI and soft robotics. Recently, they have developed a smart robotic grasping system that can apply variable pressure.

The soft robotic grasping system has a gripper hub and a finger actuator capable of applying variable pressure. Each finger is surrounded in an elastomeric outer surface and capable of curling like a very flexible human finger. The fingers are connected to the hug through a linkage actuator which allows them to move. These movements allow the variable pressure as a combination of clamping and grasping forces. The EOAT can also be equipped with a vacuum cup which can apply a force to better grip the product. With this softgrip and adaptability, these EOATs can handle different product sizes, shapes, and weights to improve reliability in a changing environment.

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