Watching This Robot Gripper Place Track for a Toy Train Is So Satisfying

A robot gripper plays with a toy train by quickly removing and placing down the tracks just before the train passes by.
Kathleen Villaluz

Robots are allowed to play too, right? In this 1.05 minute video, a robot gripper snappingly re-arranges a toy train's track to keep it moving in a perfectly circular motion. It's like one of those satisfying manufacturing videos where everything is synchronized and works in a perfectly timed manner.

In the video, you can see how quick the robot gripper rotates, picks up the track, and place it down just in the nick of time before the toy train passes through. What amazes me is that the wooden track's finger joint connection is linked perfectly each time the robot places down a track - not a millimeter too close or too far.

"I had to make an 'Eye-Catcher' out of this robot, which shows what it is capable of. That loop is one part of the application I came up with. I study mechanical engineering", says Chris Schürch.

Here comes the clever engineering part. The robot hand or gripper stops above the train and detect its location through a reed switch placed on the gripper. The switch closes when the magnet attached to train is too close. Essentially, the robot rotates in a circular path as it continuously waits for the switch to close. As the switch close, it interrupts its current movement (skip function) and evaluates the current position to set the speed for its next motion.

Schürch said that it's completely unnecessary to rotate the gripper for 180 degrees after placing a track down. But because engineers are engineers, it's always a must to make our lives more difficult than it already is so he decided to tweak the gripper with a rotation as the speed of the motion fascinates him.

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If 1.05 minutes isn't enough for you, head over to Chris Schürch's YouTube channel as there is a stretched version (10 minutes) of this video to keep you entertained for longer.

If you want to see it live, Chris' toy train project will be exhibited at Luga in Lucerne, Switzerland from the 28th of April until the 7th of May, 2017.

Via Chris Schürch

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