Jack, that's a good point about the use case of slight changes in the expected location of the object to be picked up. The main advantage the researchers cited was in adapting to different shaped and oddly shaped objects and being able to pick them up without dropping them (or spilling water from them as shown in the photo).
Agree....Most of the comments are based on environments where uniform parts are pre-aligned. Many times that's fine, but what if electronic components, gears, etc. could be "loose" and gripped and oriented by more sophisticated robotics? It could result in net savings. Another application is when the component shapes or orientation are irregular and poorly defined- logs, chicken wings, gemstones, or debris on the seabed.
Cabe I never would have thought of that, either. Once again, this solution to a design problem seems obvious in hindsight, but unless one was spending a lot of time contemplating how to use different shapes to grasp objects, it's unlikely the idea would occur.
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