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This ultra-fast robot arm is better at catching stuff than you are

Just look at it catch everything in sight.

Image: epflnews/Youtube

SWISS RESEARCHERS HAVE developed a robot arm that can catch a variety of objects thrown at it.

The arm, which is 1.5 metres long and developed at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), has three joints and a four-fingered hand – one which functions as a thumb – is able to catch items like a tennis racket, and a bottle without assistance.

The researchers developed a system where the arm can be moved in real-time by a human who teaches it how to catch a tossed object. The process, called “programming by demonstration”, mimics the same way people learn.

Once it’s figured out how to catch one, the arm uses a camera-based tracking system to refine its movements so it can catch tossed items before they hit the ground. The result: the arm can make adjustments – in as few as five-hundreds of a second – to catch objects thrown at it.

Just look at that technique.

Catching robot arm Source: epflnews/YouTube

And here are the researchers speaking about the project in more detail.

Source: epflnews/YouTube

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About the author:

Quinton O'Reilly

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