Want to share with your friends too?

Science
11 Apr 2019

MIT's new robot has a sense of touch, detects objects

Sorting waste material before recycling is a hazardous labor-intensive job.

But, if we employ machines for the task, the entire problem could be solved in a smarter, safer way.

That is exactly what MIT's CSAIL team is trying to do with RoCycle, a robot that comes with a sense of 'touch' and could one day handle waste-sorting all alone.

Here's how it works.

In context

MIT's new bot comes with sense of 'touch'
RoCycle and its touch-based system

Working

RoCycle and its touch-based system

RoCycle comes with a pair of sensor-equipped hands that can hold an object and determine its nature according to its rigidity.

A strain sensor is used to determine the size of the object, be it a can or cardboard box, while a couple of pressure sensors are used to assess how squishy it is.

Once nature is determined, the bot sorts the product accordingly.

Hands

RoCycle has flexible hands

As MIT shows in a video, RoCycle's fingers are made from a special material called auxetics.

It widens and twists on being stretched, allowing higher flexibility and dexterity than what we see with regular robotic hands, Engadget reported.

Also, as the hand sensors are conductive, they can easily detect metal objects and distinguish them with those that just look like metal.

Love Tech news?

Stay updated with the latest happenings.

Notify Me

Plus, performance is really promising

Performance

Plus, performance is really promising

Despite lacking computer vision, RoCycle has shown promising results in lab tests.

The machine detected and sorted stationary objects with an impressive 85% accuracy, while object moving on the conveyor belt were detected with 63% accuracy.

MIT's video showed how seamlessly the machine detected, held, and dropped the objects in the bags they belonged to.

Development

More developments could bring this machine into recycling business

Now, with a few more developments and perhaps integration of a computer vision system, the accuracy of RoCycle could be improved, making it capable enough for handling sorting in a real recycling facility.

However, that might take a bit of time because working in a lab environment and a real facility are two different things, with a lot of complexities involved in the latter.

Ask NewsBytes
User Image

Most asked questions

When RoCycle will come into the market?

What is the price of this robot?

Are there any other bots like this?

Is this bot similar to Boston Dynamics' system?

More questions

When RoCycle will come into the market?

Asked 2019-04-11 19:31:12 by Shreyas Trivedi

Answered by NewsBytes

As of now, it is not clear when this robot will come into the market.

What is the price of this robot?

Asked 2019-04-11 19:31:12 by Pranav Jhadav

Answered by NewsBytes

This is a research robot developed by MIT's CSAIL team and not a product for commercial sale.

Are there any other bots like this?

Asked 2019-04-11 19:31:12 by Divya Malhotra

Answered by NewsBytes

As of now, there are no bots in the recycling field.

Is this bot similar to Boston Dynamics' system?

Asked 2019-04-11 19:31:12 by Charvi Tambe

Answered by NewsBytes

It is similar but Boston Dynamics' robots are being developed for warehouse jobs, not sorting recycling.

Next Timeline