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The National Centre of Competence in Research Robotics (NCCR) is a nationwide organization funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation that brings together top researchers from across Switzerland with the goal of developing new human-centered robotics technology to improve the overall quality of life. The center opened on December 1, 2010, and has since brought together experts from seven world-class research institutions, including the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) from the canton of Vaud. At HANNOVER MESSE 2022, the Swiss will debut their OMNIGRASP, an elastic robotic gripper that can deftly and securely grasp a wide range of even delicate objects by electroadhesion to movable, compliant fingers made of silicone rubber.

Unlike common rigid grippers, which can damage fragile objects despite appropriate sensing, OMNIGRASP easily handles even pressure-sensitive fruits like raspberries or heavy and slippery foods like a watermelon. The way it works is quite simple: The pliable material adapts to the shape of the object all by itself. If a voltage is now applied to the electrodes integrated in the silicone fingers, these fingers adhere to the object and enable it to be lifted. But that is not the only advantage of the OMNIGRASP, because it is also quiet, compact and power-saving. No matter whether in large factories or smaller companies: When it comes to pick & place automation of delicate and bulky objects, the OMNIGRASP should quickly add general value, according to the Swiss researchers.