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Robotic hand gets grip on three-point shooting

Monday, February 20, 2012 - 01:25

Feb. 20 - Robot engineers from Cornell University and the University of Chicago have discovered by accident, that their recently developed robotic gripping hand can also throw objects with great accuracy. The New York Nicks' Jeremy Lin is good but the future of basketball could be in robotics. Ben Gruber reports.

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The robot shoots.. and scores. The gripping robot hand was originally designed specifically to pick objects up, but is now displaying an unexpected ability to release them as well. The secret to its shooting success is in the gripping mechanism, a latex balloon filled with granular coffee. The pliable balloon slips around an object, then stiffens when air is rapidly sucked out to create a vacuum. The balloon's developers were refining the robot's releasing capability, achieved by pumping air back into the balloon, when one test using a metal bolt produced an unexpected result. The robot threw the bolt across a table.. With a couple of programming tweaks, the team realised that they now had a robot that could not only gently pick up an egg without cracking it, but also throw a dart with bull's eye accuracy. The team says that with this new ability, the so-called "universal gripper" will be a cost effective alternative to robotic limbs modelled after a human hand, which are expensive to design and build. They say that with further research, the gripper robot could have a wide range of uses, from prosthetic limb attachments to more efficient robotic arms in factories. An NBA career is further into the future.

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Robotic hand gets grip on three-point shooting

Monday, February 20, 2012 - 01:25