Inspired by the way geckos climb, the gripper takes advantage of millions of micro-scaled fibrillar stalks that adhere to a surface using powerful van der Waals forces, according to OnRobot. The Gecko Gripper enables robots to pick up flat, smooth objects in a much more energy efficient way than existing vacuum grippers that draw on compressed air, or electrostatic grippers that require high-voltage systems for operation.
OnRobot is boasting that the Gecko Gripper interfaces with any robot and will pay for itself in eight months thanks to the electricity cost savings that come from not needing compressed air.
The technology behind the Gecko Gripper originated at Stanford University and progressed at the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, which tried on on satellite repair.
“The market reaction to the Gecko Gripper has been extremely positive,” said Kristian Hulgard, OnRobot’s general manager for the Americas. (OnRobot’s headquarters are in Odense, Denmark, with North American headquarters in Dallas.)
“We see the gripper now challenging traditional application and material handling design in a wide range of delicate tasks such as picking up porous and fragile objects like PCB boards,” Hulgard said in a news release.
Hulgard added that the Gecko Gripper excels at picking up objects with holes that vacuum grippers are unable to pick up.
OnRobot will show off the Gecko Gripper next week at MD&M West (Booth 4481).