Bridgestone Unveils Soft-Robot Hand for Package Handling

A proof-of-concept project has been launched for the design

Scarlett Evans

December 8, 2022

1 Min Read

With robotic assistants becoming an increasingly common sight in commercial and industrial sites alike, creating effective designs that can pick, pack, grip and handle items is crucial. Yet it is a design that has somewhat evaded engineers, and the development of the perfect handling system is ongoing.

Now, Japanese auto-parts manufacturer Bridgestone has unveiled its proof-of-concept project using soft-robot hands to grip and move individual items. 

The novel design, dubbed the Rubber Actuator, uses Bridgestone’s knowledge of rubber, road contact and hose development to create a flexible yet durable product that the company says achieves “just the right” grip on various objects.

According to Bridgestone, the Rubber Actuator “respon[ds] to the growing labor shortage due to the declining birthrate and aging population, increasing social needs for non-contact systems due to the influence of COVID-19, and increasing customer needs for work automation.”

Plans for a trial of the robotic system at logistics warehouses are underway, with hopes to see “small-scale commercialization” of the product if results are successful. Possible use cases include picking and packing items at warehouses, factories and supermarkets, as well as assisting with charging at EV charging points.

About the Author(s)

Scarlett Evans

Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

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