Tentacle robot can gently grasp fragile objects

Soft gripper grasps succulent. Credit: Harvard Microrobotics Lab/Harvard SEAS

If you’ve ever played the claw game at an arcade, you know how hard it is to grab and hold onto objects using robotics grippers. Imagine how much more nerve-wracking that game would be if, instead of plush stuffed animals, you were trying to grab a fragile piece of endangered coral or a priceless artifact from a sunken ship.

Most of today’s robotic grippers rely on embedded sensors, complex feedback loops, or advanced machine learning algorithms, combined with the skill of the operator, to grasp fragile or irregularly shaped objects. …
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