Roomba with dustpan style grasper

Remember El-E, the service robot that would retrieve things that you spotted with a laser? The creators of El-E are doing research into other methods of making assistance robots. Their latest contraption is an iRobot Create, basically a  Roomba, with a custom grasping hand. Instead of complex multi DOF assemblies, they have made something that works on the same principle as a dustpan. It has a thin wedge and a sweeping arm that loads items onto it. As you can see in the video, it is quite effective.

[thanks Travis]

12 thoughts on “Roomba with dustpan style grasper

  1. That was cool and all, but after the first few things, I knew what was going to happen, so they could have spared me the 100 examples.
    *here is a bottle of Prozac*
    *here is a bottle of Preperation H*

  2. @colecago: the reason for the numerous videos is to show the vast variety of objects that the end effector is capable of grasping. The number of empirical trials in this publication is significantly greater than is traditionally encountered in academic research.

    @dan: the examples chosen are by not means superfluous. These objects were chosen (partially) based on a list developed based on the needs of ALS (or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, the same one that Steven Hawking has). The examples also span very small objects (single pill) to large containers. It contains objects that are difficult for simulation (cloth) and have many potential configurations (keys). A good primer on the subject can be found here:

  3. I have to say, although the examples may seem superfluous, these are the kinds of objects which may need to be picked up. Many wheelchair users use sticks with grippers, magnets, hooks, or other end pieces to pick up dropped items, but many individuals would be presented with a major challenge using these devices to pick up the items in the video. Good luck picking up a single pill with a hook, gripper, or magnet, especially if you have limited strength or impaired coordination!

  4. Exellent proof of concept guys! It would be neat if you could engineer it as a self contained add-on piggy back unit, (very low profile) that would sense small objects, interupt the roomba’s current cleaning routine, deploy, and collect small objects and place them in a collection hopper, and then retact it’s self, and allow the roomba to continue on it’s merry way!

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