Positive Pressure Universal Gripper Robot Playing Basketball

In the future, robots might replace not only workers, but also sportsmen, provided that the technology advancements favor a merge between sports and robotics.

The robot is the result of a cooperation between the Cornell Creative Machines Lab and the University of Chicago, and was found via technobob. It involves a concept that might be new to robotics, but has been used by physicists for a very long time.

Since my first post ever written here was about a basketball-shooting robotic seal, I felt it was my duty to cover this robot’s story, too. However, there are major differences between the robotic seal and this basketball robot. While the seal used a grip which came out of its mouth for picking up and throwing away the balls, the robot developed by the Cornell University employs a concept that is called Positive Pressure Universal Gripper. The following image explains the concept in a very simple way.

The end of the robotic “arm” features a latex balloon that is filled with a granular substance such as sand. The arm is placed perpendicularly over the object that needs to be lifted. At that point, the air is extracted from the latex balloon, thus creating a void between the sand particles, fact that leads to positive pressure. The tightened particles permit the robotic arm to lift the object and point it to a certain target, in this case, a basketball hoop. Next, air is introduced again in the latex balloon, with great pressure, fact that determines the basketball to be projected at the hoop.

The robot is still not extremely precise, but its accuracy might improve in the future, as the scientists who developed it find new ways of enhancing their creation. As seen in the video, the robot is not only good at shooting hoops, but also at throwing darts. There is no doubt that there are more than just these two sports the robot could be seen playing, so sportsmen should pay attention, as their competition might not have a pulse in the near future.

If you liked this post, please check this sports chair collection and the personal trainer robot called Gymbot.