Have you ever tried reaching across your desk to reach your phone, only to barely skim it with your fingertips? Try and grab the cookie jar from the top shelf within plain sight, but fall short on reach? A competitor at the 2016 Junction Hackathon seems to have devised a solution, albeit slightly impractical.
The creation is based off the robot Baxter, created by Rethink Robotics. Featuring two robotic arms and an intriguing human-like display, the robot is intended for work in factories and manufacturing. However, this hacker has taken a slightly different spin on its purpose.
The human operator’s eye movements control the robot. After the operator identifies its target, Baxter picks up the object using the claw positioned on one of its arms and brings it within reach. Quite literally, as the creator states, you can “get your stuff in the blink of an eye.” However, the robot does have a few downsides. The current manipulator constricts the size of objects that it can lift, and the process of identification retrieval takes about 15 seconds.
While vision-based control might be intriguing, it certainly isn’t an affordable commercial idea. It might seem useful to have an extension to your reach, but the base robot used in the hack, Baxter, costs a neat $25,000. At that rate, you might be better off buying a shorter shelf.