A new robotic gripper inspired by geckos and pioneered by NASA ZDNet

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Hands are hot items in the world of robots. That's one of the biggest trends out of the Automatica conference, one of the world's premiere showcases of robot technology, which recently wrapped up in Germany. Among this year's dexterous, grippy offerings is a robotic end effector inspired by a gecko's fingers. Also: Robots with soft hands will transform the world. Geckos can scale vertical and inverted surfaces thanks to microscopic flaps on their feet.


Gecko Gripper utilizing NASA-created tech launches commercially

ZDNet

A robotic gripper inspired by the adhesive properties of gecko hands will soon be adorning robots around the world. We've written about OnRobot's Gecko Gripper before, but its commercial availability this year highlights the growing competition and dazzling science coming out of the niche market for "robot hands." The Gecko Gripper uses millions of "micro-scaled fibrillar stalks," which stick to smooth surfaces using van der Waals forces, which is the mechanism geckos use to climb. The gripper grew out of a Stanford research project that inspired work at the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab. NASA was exploring van der Waals forces as an effective way to capture orbiting satellites for salvage or repair.


A lizard-inspired robot gripper may solve our space-junk problems

Engadget

Space junk is a huge problem in orbit. Over 500,000 pieces of debris are currently orbiting the Earth at up to 17,500 miles per hour, and we haven't yet figured out how to clean it up. But engineers at Stanford may have made a breakthrough: They've designed a robotic gripper based on gecko's feet that works in zero-g. The end goal is to use it to clean up space junk. The problem with existing technology is that everything is designed to work at Earth's gravity, within Earth's temperature range.


Nasa creates a sticky 'space Velcro' gripper

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Sticky'space Velcro' grippers based on the adhesive feet of geckos have been developed by Nasa to clear up dangerous space junk in orbit. Around 500,000 pieces of human-made debris currently orbit our planet, made up of disused satellites, bits of spacecraft and spent rockets. They whip around Earth at up to 17,500 mph (28,000 kph) and experts predict that if the problem isn't fixed soon it could block future launches and post a threat to future'space tourists'. Now Nasa has developed a new way to fix the problem using a device with special adhesives that work in space. Sticky'space Velcro' grippers based on the adhesive feet of geckos have been developed by Nasa to clear up dangerous space junk in orbit.


gecko-inspired-gripper-may-soon-snag-space-junk

WIRED

Each of these is so small that it makes extremely close contact with the surface, forming a minute attraction on a molecular level. It consists of pads covered with not hairs, but microscale wedges made of silicone rubber--the same stuff that those fancy spatulas are made of. The handheld gripper consists of pairs of adhesive pads, whose microscale wedges point in opposite directions. The wedges lie flat, making super close contact with the object, and boom, adhesion.