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The gripper system can be affixed to a robotic arm and works with a specialty polymer on a circuit board. When the circuit board is heated, the polymer molds around objects made from a wide range of materials, then cools down and adheres. Once the workpiece is in the desired position, the polymer is heated again and releases its ‘load’. The developers from the University of Kassel and startup eta|opt say that unlike compressed-air procedures, the poly-gripper can be used for a wide range of applications. It is particularly suitable for industrial production lines that manufacture various products, since it eliminates the need to make any changes to equipment. Prototypes have already been tested, and the gripper system is set to come onto the market within the next year.

There is currently a trend for innovative grippers. Danish company OnRobot A/S , for example, won the Robotics Award at the HANNOVER MESSE 2019 for its innovative gripper technology for lightweight robots. The company was founded in 2018 through the merger of US company Perception Robotics and OptoForce from Hungry.