A little-known startup called GrabIt has been making the news recently with mechanical "hands" that use electrostatic attraction to gently pick up and transport objects.
The technology is ground-breaking because it may allow the robots of the future to pick up an manipulate objects without all the fine-tuned mechanical calculation needed to pick up an object with just the right amount of pressure.
As humans, we can pick up a drinks can, for instance, and hold it without trouble. For a robot, there's a very slim margin between dropping the can on the floor and crushing it in its grip. This new technology could change all that.
GripIt's disruptive technology uses the same force behind static electricity. If you've ever rubbed a balloon on your clothes and then stuck it to a wall, you've seen this in action.
Using this power, the grippers can pick up anything from cans and sheets of glass to fruit or fabric.
The powered electrodes work much better than mechanical grabbers or suction pads because they evenly distribute force across a large surface area, and don't have to be recalibrated when the object or material changes.
The technology also has applications on production line conveyor belts and robotic hands used in manufacturing. Check out the video above, as well as the one below which shows the huge range of objects the grippers can pick up.
Is this the future, or will this be another dead duck technology for the dustbin of history? Let us know in the comments section below, or stop by for a chat with the ITProPortal team and other readers on ITProPortal's tech talk live chat.