The human hand has proved to be the ultimate tool for thousands of years—providing us with an essential evolutionary device to rise to the top of the food chain. That powerful function of the human hand might have just found itself some competition as a new force in gripping power has been developed and is nearing perfection—the robot “hand.”
Robotics departments at Cornell and University of Chicago have created the “Jamming Robot Gripper” by using a ball filled with coffee grounds that can conform around an object when the air is sucked out of the ball. By rapidly re-inflating the balloon, an item such as a dart or ball can be thrown or launched.
While the idea of a robot holding and throwing an item isn't particularly new or impressive, the Jamming Robot Gripper is able to replicate its throwing tasks with incredible accuracy and consistency. After extensive testing, 95 percent accuracy was achieved within 60mm. Okay, the robot hand won't be replacing human hands anytime soon but it can sure play a mean game of darts. Perhaps with some adaptation and further fine tuning, household tasks can become even more automated than they already are.