The team at Origin Robotics has a question: with robotic technology advancing the way it is, why don’t we see more robots in the home? They’ve become common in factories and other industrial settings, but we haven’t yet gotten to the point where we’re living with everyday robot “helpers” in our homes. A lot of that has to do with cost, of course. Robotics are expensive – too expensive for the average person, generally. But, Origin Robotics argues, they don’t have to be.
The team of Miami engineers uses 3D printed parts to build relatively inexpensive robotic technology for everyday use in the home or office. Last year they debuted the OrigiBot, an app-controlled robot capable of opening doors, bringing people items, etc. The project was fully funded through Indiegogo and expected to retail for $899, which may seem pricey to the average person, but when you consider that most industrial robots cost upwards of $50,000, it’s not bad at all.
Now Origin Robotics has developed the OrigiGrip, currently raising funds on Indiegogo. The OrigiGrip is a robotic gripper, or “hand,” controlled by a single servo and control signal and capable of securely gripping a wide variety of objects. It’s simply made, using just a few 3D printed parts, but it’s effective: the two articulated fingers are capable of opening to nearly 9 inches and holding everything from eggs to footballs.
“We developed the OrigiGrip after searching for a suitably robust gripper for use in our own Robotics projects (such as OrigiBot),” Origin Robotics’ Richard Laboris tells 3DPrint.com. “Existing affordable hobby/amateur robotic grippers were merely toys while commercial grippers similar to OrigiGrip cost several thousands of dollars! We designed OrigiGrip to fill the large gap in between.”
The OrigiGrip’s operation is simple. The grippers are mounted onto a standard hobby servo, and a single control signal instructs the fingers to open and close. Once an object interrupts their movement, the fingers close around the object, wrapping around it securely. Rubberized finger padding allows for even the most fragile objects to be held securely but gently.
The Indiegogo campaign aims to raise $1,500 in the next month, and the rewards for supporters are quite nice. Pledge $89 and you’ll receive your own fully assembled OrigiGrip along with a standard high-torque servo. (That’s the early bird price. Only 30 are available; after those are gone, the amount raises to $99.) For another $24, you can add on an additional servo that allows 180-degree wrist rotation. If you have a few mechanical skills and are looking to save some money, backing for $59 will get you all of the 3D printed parts and hardware needed to build your own gripper; you’ll need to provide your own servo.
According to Origin Robotics, a single Printrbot printer was used to print all of the parts needed for the OrigiBots. I don’t know if their printer inventory has expanded since that last campaign, but the amount of work that’s gone into the project is impressive. The OrigiGrip is lightweight, versatile, and very easy to use – and it also comes in fun colors. You can choose from silver, black, red, blue, or a very flashy-looking lime green – so your robot hand will be not only useful, but very cool-looking, too. Is this a campaign you are considering backing? Discuss in the OrigiGrip 3D Printed Gripper forum over at 3DPB.com.