Thursday, February 10, 2022

Stretch - A robot designed to take the place of warehouse workers.

stretch robot

The obsession of big tech with destroying jobs leads to inventions like this one: an experimental robot with a flexible arm for box placement.

Every few months, Boston Dynamics surprises us with experimental robots that stand out for their realistic movements and excellent balance.

Stretch, its most recent creation, is unique. It is just as advanced as its predecessors, but it is not inspired by animal or human locomotion, and, most importantly, it has been designed for a very specific job: it can replace any warehouse worker.

Stretch does not have hands or legs, but it is extremely agile. Thanks to a suction cup system built into the end of its arm, it can move 800 boxes weighing up to 23 kilograms per hour. It can identify different boxes regardless of how they are stacked thanks to a set of sensors, and its pallet-sized base has a battery with enough capacity for one shift of work.

Most importantly, Stretch does not require a customized environment to perform its function, unlike other warehouse robots. There are no rails to install, and there are no pre-determined routes to mark on the floor. It moves and performs its duties in the same way that a human worker would, assessing each movement.

This is not Boston Dynamic's first warehouse-designed robot. Pick, a mechanical arm that uses a similar suction cup mechanism to move boxes, is already on the market. Pick, unlike Stretch, must be installed in a specific location on the warehouse floor.

Stretch, on the other hand, can move and install a moving conveyor and unload an entire truck unattended, or it can organize the already unloaded boxes on different shelves based on the needs of the company.

"Employees' working conditions can be improved by using these types of robots. Stretch combines advances in mobility, perception, and manipulation from Boston Dynamics to address the most injury-prone tasks "The company elaborates.

Stretch is not yet commercially available, but Boston Dynamics is seeking partners to begin pilot testing in preparation for a 2022 deployment.


Article Author Gerluxe

Image: Boston Dynamics

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