Gecko Gripper Hits the Market
Jeffrey Heimgartner posted on February 07, 2019 |

OnRobot had a big 2018 and is kicking off 2019 even bigger. The company started the new year by shipping pre-orders of its Gecko Gripper, which earned an Innovation and Entrepreneurship Award (IERA) at the 2018 50th International Symposium on Robotics in Munich. It also showcased its unique gripper between Feb. 5 and 7 at the Automation Technology Expo (ATX) West, in Anaheim, Calif.

The Gecko Gripper, developed from NASA technology, is based on the nimble gecko lizards native to the Southern Hemisphere. Its initial purpose was to provide an alternative to pneumatic gripper technology in space. OnRobot further developed the technology to turn it into a cost-effective alternative to vacuum solutions.

OnRobot’s Gecko Gripper is now available. (Image courtesy of OnRobot.)
OnRobot’s Gecko Gripper is now available. (Image courtesy of OnRobot.)

“The market reaction to the Gecko Gripper has been extremely positive,” said Kristian Hulgard, OnRobot general manager, Americas. “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.”

The Gecko Gripper offers a new solution for handling large, flat objects and is compatible with a range of robotic arms on the market. It uses millions of micro-scaled fibrillar stalks that adhere to surfaces that existing vacuum grippers are unable to, such as pieces with holes, pores or perforations. Its cost-effectiveness is in part due to savings obtained through not needing compressed air for operation.

Before becoming available, the OnRobot Gecko Gripper was on display at Automatica 2018.

In addition to the Gecko Gripper, OnRobot displayed its RG2-FT at ATX. Now available to manufacturers, the updated RG2-FT has built-in force and torque sensing, which is designed to assist in piece detection and centering. It is considered an intelligent gripper that can “see” and “feel” objects thanks to inbuilt 6 axis F/T and proximity laser sensors at the fingertips.

The RG2-FT has 6 axis F/T sensors at the fingertips that provide accurate gripping for better production quality. (Image courtesy of OnRobot.)
The RG2-FT has 6 axis F/T sensors at the fingertips that provide accurate gripping for better production quality. (Image courtesy of OnRobot.)

“The RG2-FT gripper is a sophisticated—yet entirely accessible—new piece of technology that manufacturers with tasks such as assembly, insertion and quality inspection are now requesting,” Hulgard said. “The intelligent force feedback provided by the gripper’s sensors will also help operators in adjusting their applications for optimal design and positioning.”

Interested in more nature inspired robotics? Check out DelFly Nimble Mimics the Complex Flying Abilities of Fruit Flies and Bipedal Robot Masters Balancing Like a Human.


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