Robotiq is a new Canadian startup spun-out of the Laval University Robotics Lab and founded by Samuel Bouchard, Vincent Duchaine and Jean-Philippe Jobin. Their first product is a very cool looking three-fingered robot hand called the "Adaptive Gripper." It is comprised of three under-actuated fingers, two of which can change their position and orientation to support a variety of grasp configurations -- very similar in principle to the Barrett Hand and Schunk SDH Hand. The Adaptive Gripper's prominent finger linkages lead to a rather beautiful mechanical motion, as seen in the grasping videos (below). I would imagine the mechanical linkages also offer additional robustness compared to under-actuated cable-driven competitors and cost advantages over fully-actuated competitors. Unfortunately, its price is still an unknown -- perhaps someone attending ICRA 2010 in Alaska can stop by their booth and inquire...?
First up, a number of higher-resolution pictures (and a spec sheet), then on to a number of videos.
Handling everyday objects:
Handling fruits and vegetables:
One of the neat things about this product is the pretty clear evolution of the design at the Laval University Robotics Lab (specifically, the work on under-actuated grasping: here, here, and here). The Adaptive Gripper appears to be a direct descendant of the SARAH Hand, pictured below.
I am a bit skeptical about the apparent lack of sensing on the Adaptive Gripper. Too much sensing is always preferable to none at all (at least you can throw away data). I'd probably request the following:
Still, I'm intrigued. Robotiq has a number of upcoming appearances: ICRA 2010 booth, Robotic Summit Virtual Conference, and the 2010 Intl Workshop on Underactuated Grasping. I'd really appreciate someone reporting back expected pricing.