Ocado – an online grocer shows their robotic hands that can pick fruits and veggies without damaging them.
This firm possess an automated warehouse in Andover, Hampshire. There robots do their work by selecting specific items for customer orders.
Currently they are used instead of human team for testing, but in the future they may replace them wholly.
The robotized fruit and vegetable picker is a part of a 5-year research collaboration between five European universities and Disney called Soma (Soft Manipulation), said Ocado spokesman Alexandru Voica.
He said that people have tried to make other robot hands, but they are trying to mimic the humans hand. The robot is based on air pressure that controls his movement. Alexandru is trying to combine the computer vision with the controlling aspect so the robot can recognize them by just looking.
Currently its only used for demonstration.
It will be able to pick items other than fruits and veggies – such as wine bottles.
“Fruit and vegetables are the hardest to pick,” said Mr Voica.
“When the customer gets their bag of bananas or tomatoes, if they see the product is damaged they don’t care whether it’s a human or a robot that’s picked it.”
Prof Chris Melhuish, director of the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, said that building robotic devices – or manipulators – to carry out multiple tasks is difficult.
“A general purpose manipulator is a really tough thing to build, and certainly understanding and exploiting the way the human hand functions, because it is so flexible and adaptive, makes a lot of sense,” he told the BBC.
“There are lots of groups that are looking at robotic manipulation but often it is for a specific purpose – picking up a concrete block is not the same as doing artificial suturing for example – so the tendency has been to build different types of manipulators for different domains.”