At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, car manufacturing companies such as Ford quickly shifted their production focus from automobiles to masks and ventilators.
To make this switch possible, these companies relied on people working on an assembly line. It would have been too challenging for a robot to make this transition because robots are tied to their usual tasks.
Theoretically, a robot could pick up almost anything if its grippers could be swapped out for each task. To keep costs down, these grippers could be passive, meaning grippers pick up objects without changing shape, similar to how the tongs on a forklift work. [Read more…] about Washington university develops 3D-printed robotic gripper that can pick up anything, no matter what its geometry