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University of Washington engineers and computer scientists give assembly line robots a helping hand – Oregon Public Broadcasting

A team of computer scientists and engineers at the University of Washington developed a new way to design and 3D print robotic grippers customized to pick up an array of different shaped objects, including a mustard bottle.
Jeffrey Lipton, University of Washington
Robots are an indispensable part of the modern assembly line, whether it’s to mount a steering wheel or pick up packages for shipping at a distribution center. But what if you wanted to shift gears to manufacture a new product? Now that presents a challenge since robotic, hand-like grippers aren’t nimble enough to pick up and move objects of varying shapes and sizes on an assembly line.
A team of engineers and computer scientists at the University of Washington tackled this problem by using computer software to generate instructions which could be fed into a 3D printer to make grippers, each optimally designed to grab and rotate nearly two dozen different shapes, such as a tennis ball, mustard bottle and a toy-sized chair. Jeffrey Lipton is an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Washington. He joins us to talk about this research which was presented at the annual Association for Computer Machinery conference earlier this month.
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