Engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in collaboration with those from the Princeton University, have invented a robotic system that promises to assist in warehousing activities such as picking and sorting of products. In the near future, as the prospects are harness further, the robots are Aexpected to help in household activities and even clear debris form a disaster zone.
The pick and place robotic system developed by the team includes a standard industrial robotic arm, which is equipped with a customized arm with suction cup and gripper. Running on a grasping algorithm that facilitates the robot to analyze a bunch of random objects and detects the best way to suck or grip an item out of the whole lot. Once the robot has full control over the grasped item, it can lift it out of the bunch. Essentially, the robot is dynamic in a way that without taking any feed on a new object, it can use its set of cameras to image-match to repeat the sorting process.
Working on a grasp first then recognize workflow concept, the robot is expected to turn into an effective alternative to other pick and place technologies that are currently available. Not just for warehousing, the engineers expect the robot to evolve further and pick things in kitchen cabinet.
A number of industries are in need for robots that can accomplish repetitive tasks efficiently but this new system is more adaptable, offering flexibility for unstructured settings such as retail warehouses.
A presentation of the system is expected in May 2018 at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation.