This is ground zero at Soft Robotics, a company that wants to get its specialty robot hands all over your food.
Soft Robotics founder and director Joshua Lessing and Matthew Driscoll demonstrated tentacles the company designed to handle delicate objects.
Along with an assortment of conveyor belts and slicers, Heinzen intends to offer clients a robotic arm equipped with the specialty gripper made by Soft Robotics.
“They’re basically going to be like the grasp of the human hand,” said Joshua Lessing, the founder and director of R&D at Soft Robotics, who hand-crafted some early prototypes.
In 2013, Soft Robotics was born, receiving funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to make soft surgical tools.
The way Lessing remembers it, some months into that pursuit, chief executive Carl Vause wandered into the lab with a question: Could the robotic grippers pick a piece of produce, like a strawberry or a tomato? That was a pivot point.
Among the companies that have expressed an interest in Soft Robotics is greenhouse grower Nature Fresh Farms, of Toronto.