Breakthrough innovation specialist Cambridge Consultants has developed Hank, a robot with flexible robotic fingers inspired by the human hand.

Hank uses a pioneering sensory system embedded in its pneumatic fingers, providing a sophisticated sense of touch and slip, meaning it can emulate the human ability to hold and grip delicate objects using just the right amount of pressure. Hank could have valuable applications in agriculture and warehouse automation, where the ability to pick small, irregular and delicate items has been one of the industry’s “grand challenges”.

While warehouse automation has taken great strides over the last decade, today’s robots cannot emulate human dexterity at the point of picking diverse individual items from larger containers. E‑commerce giants are under pressure to deliver more quickly and at a cheaper price, but still require human operators for tasks that can be both difficult and tedious. By giving a robot additional human-like senses it can feel and orient its grip around an object, applying just enough force, while being able to adjust or abandon if the object slips.

The future of vertical farming: the intelligent ecosystem

Other robots with articulated arms used in warehouse automation tend to require complex grasping algorithms, costly sensing devices and vision sensors to accurately position the end effector (fingers) and grasp an object. Hank uses soft robotic fingers controlled by airflows that can flex the finger and apply force. The fingers are controlled individually in response to the touch sensors. This means that the end effector does not require millimeter-accurate positioning to grasp an object. Like human fingers, they close until they ‘feel’ the object. With the ability to locate an object, adjust overall system position and then to grasp that object, Hank can apply increased force if a slip is detected and generate instant awareness of a mishandled pick if the object is dropped. Hank moves a step beyond legacy approaches to this challenge, which tend to rely on pinchers and suction appendages to grasp items, limiting the number and type of objects they can realistically pick and pack.

Bruce Ackman, Logistics Commercial Lead, commented: “The logistics industry relies heavily on human labor to perform warehouse picking and packing and has to deal with issues of staff retention and shortages. Automation of this part of the logistics chain lags behind the large-scale automation seen elsewhere. Hank’s world-leading sensory system is a game changer for the logistics industry, making actions such as robotic bin picking and end-to-end automated order fulfilment possible. Adding a sense of touch and slip, generated by a single, low-cost sensor, means that Hank’s fingers could bring new efficiencies to giant distribution centers.”

Molded from silicone, Hank's fingers are hollow and its novel sensors are embedded during molding, with an air chamber running up the center. The finger surface is flexible, food safe and cleanable. As a low-cost consumable, the fingers can simply be replaced if they become damaged or worn.

Notes to editors

Cambridge Consultants (剑桥顾问公司)开发突破性产品,产生和授权知识产权,并为全球的客户提供商业资讯,解决与技术相关的关键问题。60多年来,公司一直致力于帮助客户转化商业机会,包括推出市场领先的产品,进入新市场,引入新技术扩大现有市场。公司拥有超过900名员工,包括工程师、科学家、数学家和设计师,遍布于英国剑桥、美国波士顿、东京和新加坡办事处,为医疗和生命科学、工业和能源、消费和零售以及通讯和基础设施等多个行业提供解决方案。欲了解更多信息,请访问:

Cambridge Consultants是 Capgemini Invent (凯捷集团的创新、咨询和转型品牌)的子公司。Capgemini Invent帮助管理者设想和构建他们组织的未来。公司在全球设有30多个办事处和25个创意工作室,是一支拥有7000多名员工的强大团队,将战略、技术、数据科学和创意设计与深厚的行业专业知识和洞察力相结合,开发新的数字解决方案和未来的商业模式。

凯捷集团是通过技术来为客户改造和管理业务的全球领导者,而Capgemini Invent是凯捷集团不可或缺的一部分。集团的宗旨是通过技术释放人类的潜能,实现包容性和可持续的未来。它是一个及负社会责任的多元化组织,在近50个国家拥有27万名团队成员。凭借其50年的悠久历史和深厚的行业专业知识,凯捷集团受到客户的信赖,在快速发展和充满创新的云、数据、人工智能、连接、软件、数字工程和平台技术的推动下,能够满足客户从战略、设计到运营的所有业务需求。集团2020年的全球营收为160亿欧元。

获得你想要的未来 |


PR-hero-hank-2.jpg, 0.1MB


WE Communications