New beers seem to be on tap at the touch of a button.
Now, a US research team is using artificial intelligence to make products of various shapes easier to pick up during manufacturing.
Allowing existing production lines to be adapted and automated at low cost.
Their system is fed with a 3D model of the object in order to calculate the optimal configuration of a simple, passive gripping tool.
This shape is 3D-printed and attached to the assembly-line robot. Additional calculations establish what movements the robot should make for a speedy pick-up. In a test with 22 objects, 20 were successfully lifted.
Elephant trunks have already proved a handy inspiration, while cheese also profits from an AI/robot combination.