We don't usually give much thought to good old trusty kitchen sinks. And perhaps that's why there hasn't been much change in their design in the last century or so. Only notable additions to our kitchen counter include mixing taps and better handles. So in the 21st century where even beds have become an IoT device now, it wouldn't be a farfetched bet to say there's a lot of room for improvement in kitchen sinks.
And that's probably how the computer engineering and robotics Ph.D. student Jake Ammons got the idea to develop a robotic sink faucet for his graduate-level course on Architectural Robotics at Clemson University.
The contraption built in four weeks uses a common vinyl hose as its "continuum manipulator." Put in simple terms, it is a kitchen faucet nozzle that's manipulated with a joystick. It lets the user aim the flow of water inside the sink.
It moves via motors that have steel wires embedded in its 3D printed collar rings. The joystick also sports an on and off switch. The project is conceived as an assistive technology for those living with disabilities, as demonstrated in the demo video.
Perhaps adding a detergent sprayer and having a more high-pressure sprayer on the nozzle could prove useful to the concept, but the device is already pretty impressive in its current state.
This system could be improved upon with further hardware and software, according to Jake. A computer vision system, for example, could be implemented to automate the cleaning of the dishes to a degree. Though, Jake is looking at this as a more of a proof-of-concept kind of work. Jake is also exploring the possibilities of building a 3D concrete builder with a similar setup, of course, to be scaled up to an industrial level.