Hardware design for vacuum gripper proof-of-concept for Fetch mobile manipulator.
My first summer internship project at Fetch was to develop (from scratch) a proof-of-concept vacuum gripper end effector for the Fetch mobile robot arm. My final functional prototype consisted of a 3D-printed body with a self-contained vacuum pump that was capable of grasping various objects with flat, non-porous food boxes. The key challenge was pulling a high enough vacuum flow rate with the limited available electrical power and space to be able to grasp porous and/or flexible objects like bags and plain cardboard boxes. These constraints ultimately limited the types of products that the gripper could grasp.