Hizook was first to cover the Robotiq's unique 3-fingered Adaptive Robot Gripper back in 2010, even before it became a commercially-available product. Since then, that gripper has been spotted on a number of robots, appeared in a TV commercial, and been used in numerous robotics research projects that needed a rugged and dexterous robot hand. Today, we're happy to share the news that Robotiq has a new, upcoming product: a simplified, 2-fingered version of the Adaptive Gripper. In the video below, we can see that this new design has some definite advantages over existing 2-finger parallel-jaw grippers... namely, the added ability to conformally wrap around objects for improved grasp configurations. Oh, and it apparently has sufficient grip force to lift loads in excess of 10 lbs (that's pretty impressive!).
The new 2-finger Adaptive Gripper shares several similarities with the classic 3-finger gripper. For example, it uses similar industry-standard communication protocols and interfaces that give you full control over the position, speed and force of the fingers. Furthermore, it uses similar "self-adapative" under-actuated fingers with that characteristic (beautiful) mechanical motion. In fact, the patent-pending mechanical design automatically processes from parallel "pinch" grasps to encompassing "wrap-around" grasps (and also internal grasps) -- which makes the gripper particularly suited to pickup a wide range of object shapes and sizes.
I'm also impressed by it's ability to hold a 10lb weight (see video) and pickup the low-profile object. Those are particularly compelling capabilities.
The 2-fingered robot gripper will be officially released at the end of this quarter (Q2, 2012). It is currently being beta tested by end-users for various high-mix or unstructured applications such as assembly, bin picking, and bin unpacking. Want to know more or be part of the beta program? Contact Robotiq.
Also, Robotiq will have a booth at ICRA 2012 in Minnesota come mid-May. You should stop by to chat and check out the new 2-fingered gripper in person.
Lest you forget, Robotiq also makes a 3-fingered Adaptive Gripper:
Explains Robotiq's president, Samuel Bouchard, "The original 3-finger Adaptive Gripper brought gripping flexibility with easy control to many robots. For a large number of applications though, the gripper was an overkill solution. And many people saw our initial design and were asking for a smaller version. So our R&D team got together and designed this new 2-fingered gripper for high-mix robotic handling."
Since our original Hizook article in 2010, gripper has been spotted on a number of robots, appeared in a TV commercial, and been used in numerous robotics research projects that needed a rugged and dexterous robot hand.
In the spirit of full disclosure, Robotiq is a Hizook.com sponsor -- so... I guess that means Hizook was compensated (in part) for writing this article. In fact, this is the inaugural "sponsor spotlight" for Robotiq.
That said, we maintain the highest possible standards and only recommend products and initiatives that we (ourselves) would personally buy or recommend to close friends. I had the opportunity to play with a 3-fingered Robotiq gripper at IROS 2011 and was very impressed. Furthermore, as you can see from the above examples, several friends and colleagues in various research labs have successfully used (and speak highly of) the grippers. Thus, I have no compunctions about recommending Robotiq's products. Oh... and did I mention that Robotiq has a fantastic blog that covers a diverse range of topics (eg. robots creating jobs, advice for robotics entrepreneurs, and other industry news)? It's in my collection of RSS feeds, but you should read it too.
If you'd like to learn more about what it means (or what it takes) to become a Hizook sponsor, go check this out! We're always looking for mutually-beneficial relationships.