Marcel Schuck, a scientist from ETH Zurich university, has presented the prototype of the robot that can manipulate small and fragile objects without touching them, using the sound waves, shared the university in the press release from January 21.

Using the technology named “acoustic levitation”, Schuck and his team has designed a robot that can levitate small and fragile object using waves of controlled frequencies and volumes.

The large part of efforts were dedicated to software development, so the system could figure out “frequencies and amplitudes are necessary to suspend a given object in the air”, highlighted Schuck.

The innovation promises to improve efficiency in current robotics, shared researchers:

“When working with a conventional robot, a different gripper is required for almost every new shape. The acoustic gripper eliminates the need for an extensive set of expensive high- precision grippers. It is not even necessary for the robot arm itself to be extremely precise”

But probably more importantly, the system has practical applications in itself, for example for such industries like healthcare, or any other industry where it is necessary to preserve cleanliness of objects, since “acoustic manipulation, however, would have significantly less possibility of contamination”.

Swiss born project will of course also try out use-cases with important in Switzerland watchmaking industry, shared the researcher:

“Toothed gearwheels, for example, are first coated with lubricant, and then the thickness of this lubricant layer is measured. Even the faintest touch could damage the thin film of lubricant”

Now the innovator plans to poll various industries to make robotics applications even more feasible.

Photo Credit: ETH Zurich

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