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November 29, 2012

Martijn Wisse On The Future Of Robots

Delft Hand
Martijn Wisse develops mechanisms and motions that make it easier for the robots to fulfill their task.  At a recent TEDx event, he reviewed som of his research and explained how using the human body as inspiration, but not as a model is yielding breakthroughs in robotic performance.  
Martijn Wisse researches mechatronics and robotics. He develops mechanisms and motions that make it easier for the robots to fulfill their task.

Inspired by the human body, he develops hands that make it easy to grasp oddly-shaped objects, legs that walk almost by themselves without motors or controls, and arms that efficiently and robustly reach their target positions. His work is part of a greater effort in Delft -- and worldwide -- to develop the robot technology that is so dearly needed in the developed countries.

The Netherlands and other countries are facing an enormous demographic challenge due to aging, resulting in a labor shortage across the board, ranging from production and packaging to distribution and personal assistance. Wisse's designs and ideas help create affordable and effective robotic solutions.

Martijn Wisse currently is tenured as Associate Professor at Delft University of Technology, after completing the MSc and PhD programs in Delft and a Postdoc at The Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University. He also holds a position as Chief Technology Officer at Lacquey Robot Gripping Solutions, a company that develops grippers for fruits and vegetables (and all other oddly and variably shaped objects).

The video below demonstrates how Wisse's robotics work is applied at Lacquey. Because of their particular shape, pears are relatively hard to handle. Their pointy tops can be curved and point in different directions. Especially when they have to be positioned on trays with other pears this is a challenge.

Lacquey's gripper can grasp pears regardless of their orientation. Even pears that are standing up straight can be picked, depending on the robot arm used.

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