In outer space, but on the farm as well

Israeli robot arm can lend a hand

The MASR multi-link arm-robot, developed by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, operates like a traditional snake robot, which is generally equipped with multiple motors.

However, now there is a new robot, using only two motors: one that travels along the arm to get the gripping mechanism to the right location, and a second that rotates the joint that needs to be flexed.

“This unique minimalistic configuration, which can be applied to any serial robot with two or more links, reduces weight, size and cost,” said Zarrouk. It allows a robotic manipulator to achieve a wide range of movements using few activators, or motors. explains how one flaw of this robot is its speed. Time is not an issue in space, but it is for fruit picking, another application the robot could be used for. To be commercially viable, a robot should be picking fruit at a speed of some 3 seconds per fruit. The researchers have only just completed the second prototype of the arm-robot and have not yet timed it picking fruit. However, because of the light weight of the robot’s arms, one vehicle could be equipped with multiple arms, which would speed up the process.

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