Developed by OnRobot, the Gecko Gripper is a system designed to hold objects without the need for additional energy that has now taken home the 2019 Robotics Award at Hannover Messe. Last year the Gecko Gripper won the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Award at the 50th International Symposium on Robotics in Munich.
On Tuesday, robotics experts and enthusiasts gathered for the ninth successive year at the Automation Forum in order to celebrate innovative technological solutions. The Finance Minister for the German State of Lower Saxony, Reinhold Hilbers, presented the award, which carries a total purse of €10,000, on behalf of Award Patron Bernd Althusmann, Lower Saxony’s Minister of Economic Affairs, Employment, Transport and Digitalization.
The Gecko Gripper is modeled on structures found in the feet of certain reptiles. Millions of microscopically fine hairs create van der Waals forces when they contact smooth surfaces. This results in strong adhesion and anti-shearing force without the need to use any power. The object is released simply by tilting the gripper surfaces.
In the run-up to the award, numerous enterprises and institutions from Germany and abroad submitted solutions in the fields of industrial automation, mobile robots and autonomous systems. Three made it through to the final round. The second prize was awarded to a joint project by forwardttc and Kuka. This project involves a low-cost charging assistant for electric vehicles. The automatic charging process is initiated via a remote control or an app. In terms of the possible charging capacities, the charger is compatible with all electronic passenger vehicles, and the process can even be adapted for other innovative fuels such as hydrogen. Third prize was awarded to MASKOR, the Institute for Mobile Autonomous Systems and Cognitive Robotics at the Aachen University of Applied Sciences, for its autonomous field robot. The function of this robot is to facilitate cost-effective weed management in vegetable production. In contrast to conventional systems the robot can navigate freely in an unstructured environment, avoid obstacles and remove weeds by their roots.
The Robotics Award is given under the auspices of Hannover Messe, in partnership with the Robotation Academy and the Konradin Media Group.