May 26, 2022

If you’ve never picked raspberries, it’s a shame at first because fresh raspberries are beautiful. But secondly, and in this case it is more important, you may not know that there is a technology in which robots, oddly enough, are not very good, because they tend to… But this berry robot developed by Swiss researchers can usher in a new era of soft automated assembly robots.

The secret to picking raspberries is to grab them long enough to buy and then pull them down a stem, clearly called the “recipient”, with the underside visible. It sounds simple, and it is, but our hands are among the most sensitive and precisely controlled creations in the universe, the culmination of a hundred million years of evolution, surpassed only by (I suspect) raccoons.

Robots do not have the sensory organs needed to create the perfect technology for picking berries. But what if he could negotiate with Berry to better understand the forces involved and avoid brutal suppression or humiliating failure?

Kai Junge, an EPFL PhD student in Switzerland, wants to make it big with this “sensory raspberry”, a silicone and silicon replica of a berry that provides feedback to the picking machine, making it faster, better and cleaner.

“This is an exciting dilemma for us robotics engineers,” said Professor Josie Hughes, who worked with Junj on the project. “The raspberry harvest season is so short, and the berries are so valuable, that it is simply impossible to spoil them. In addition, the cost and logistical challenges of testing various alternatives in the field are prohibitive, so we decided to expand our testing in the lab. , and develop a replica of a raspberry to train assembly robots.”

It seems that the hard part occurs at the moment of relaxation, when the force required to hold the berry on the container suddenly increases as the object changes from solid to hollow.

The replica berry is equipped with a fluid sensor that tells the system how hard the silicon droplets are compressing, allowing the control model to learn how to adjust the grip just like the berry itself tells you how much more.

You can see Berry in action below:

The team plans to showcase their work at Robotsoft in April. And when the issue with raspberries is resolved, they move on to other berries, tomatoes, grapes … even apricots. The future looks fresh!

The Robo-Berry View – gaming-updates post first appeared on gaming-updates.

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