Sushi Robot and Patisserie Robot : DigInfo
At FOOMA JAPAN 2009, the international food machinery and technology exhibition, people’s attention was caught by robots that handle food with hands just like human ones. Here, sushi is being carried by a sushi robot using a robot arm (M-430iA) manufactured by FANUC. The hand, which has a silicone skin just like a person’s, moves the sushi between chopping boards. Here, baumkuchen is being carried by a patisserie robot, using a robot arm (V Series) from Denso Wave. Both the robots use robot hands from SQUSE. By moving artificial muscles using air pressure, soft foods such as sushi and baumkuchen can be carried without losing their shape or being dropped. The arm is controlled by air pressure, and it can grasp
objects with various shapes using the same control. We have developed pneumatic
actuators called artificial muscles. The main feature of these is that even when air is injected, the pressure is released in accordance
with the form of an object. By sending air to a pressure-driven actuator, the actuator
can be contracted, in a way that resembles a pantograph. The pneumatic actuator has an interior pouch made of inflatable plastic and rubber, and an outer pouch woven from textile material. Tendons are connected to each side of the exterior pouch. This actuator weighs only about one gram, but its tensile force, which is proportional to the supply pressure and the surface area of the inner pouch, exceeds 10 N. Ultimately, we aim to achieve a functional prosthetic hand. Also, as many tasks on assembly lines are still
not automated, and require human hands, we think our robot hands could be
used to do such manual tasks. The prototypes demonstrated here are not intended for actual factory use. But there is expected to be a need for such robot hands, in food processing and other plants that require hygienic operations.