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This AI-enabled robotic arm can pack boxes quickly, cut costs

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Researchers have developed an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-enabled robotic arm that provides a more efficient way to pack boxes, saving time and money. Researchers formed a team to deal with multiple aspects of the robot packing problem in an integrated way through hardware, 3D perception and robust motion, according to the study presented at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation.

The study coincides with the growing trend of deploying robots to perform logistics, retail and warehouse tasks. Automating such tasks is important for companies’ competitiveness and allows people to focus on less menial and physically taxing work.

“We can achieve low-cost, automated solutions that are easily deployable. The key is to make minimal but effective hardware choices and focus on robust algorithms and software,” said Kostas Bekris, Associate Professor at Rutgers University, US.

The researchers developed software and algorithms for their robotic arm. They used visual data and a simple suction cup which doubles as a finger for pushing objects. The resulting system could topple objects to get a desirable surface for grabbing them. Furthermore, it uses sensor data to pull objects toward a targeted area and push objects together.

A robotic arm was also spotted in a YouTube video in which it is seen tightly packing objects with as much as five times the manual speed.

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