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Willow Garage Introduces Velo 2G Adaptive Gripper

The Velo V2 brings passive adaptation that allows for easy gripping of a wide variety of objects by the PR2

1 min read
Willow Garage Introduces Velo 2G Adaptive Gripper

For all that Willow Garage contributes to the robotics community, it's not often that they release new hardware. They've got the PR2, the TurtleBot, the PR3 and PR4 (oops, we can't tell you about them yet, bwahahaha), and that's about it. So when Willow comes up with something new, it's usually worth paying attention, and they've announced a new 3D printed adaptive gripper design for the PR2: the Velo 2G.

As you can see, the nifty bit about the Velo 2G is the fact that it can passively adapt to all sorts of objects. By "passively adapt," we mean that you don't have to do any fancy programmin' to get the fingers to grip around an object: the gripper design itself takes care of it for you. This works on square things, round things, thin things, irregularly shaped things, and all kinds of other stuff that robots are likely to find lying around your house. 

We should also mention that this overall design reminds us a lot of the adaptive two and three finger grippers they make over at Robotiq, although the Robotiq grippers use a mechanical linkage design as opposed to a tendon-driven design. 

The Velo 2G is just an alpha prototype at the moment, and it's not for sale, but given the simple design, single actuator, and 3D printability, we're optimistic that when it does become available (at least in a research incarnation) this robot hand won't cost an arm and a leg. Zing! Thanks folks, we'll be here all week.

[ Velo 2G Gripper ]

The Conversation (0)

The Bionic-Hand Arms Race

The prosthetics industry is too focused on high-tech limbs that are complicated, costly, and often impractical

12 min read
A photograph of a young woman with brown eyes and neck length hair dyed rose gold sits at a white table. In one hand she holds a carbon fiber robotic arm and hand. Her other arm ends near her elbow. Her short sleeve shirt has a pattern on it of illustrated hands.

The author, Britt Young, holding her Ottobock bebionic bionic arm.

Gabriela Hasbun. Makeup: Maria Nguyen for MAC cosmetics; Hair: Joan Laqui for Living Proof

In Jules Verne’s 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, members of the fictitious Baltimore Gun Club, all disabled Civil War veterans, restlessly search for a new enemy to conquer. They had spent the war innovating new, deadlier weaponry. By the war’s end, with “not quite one arm between four persons, and exactly two legs between six,” these self-taught amputee-weaponsmiths decide to repurpose their skills toward a new projectile: a rocket ship.

The story of the Baltimore Gun Club propelling themselves to the moon is about the extraordinary masculine power of the veteran, who doesn’t simply “overcome” his disability; he derives power and ambition from it. Their “crutches, wooden legs, artificial arms, steel hooks, caoutchouc [rubber] jaws, silver craniums [and] platinum noses” don’t play leading roles in their personalities—they are merely tools on their bodies. These piecemeal men are unlikely crusaders of invention with an even more unlikely mission. And yet who better to design the next great leap in technology than men remade by technology themselves?

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